Функциональность электронных платформ общественного участия: причем здесь социальные сети?
Information technologies are actively used by government agencies to interact with citizens in public administration. At the same time exploitation of advanced communication technologies through Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp requires developed communication capabilities of electronic platforms used for public participation. The article explores the features of e-participation platforms employed by public administration in Russia. It discusses the requirements for the features of e-participation platforms based on the recommendations from public administration theories and from the best practices of electronic interaction between citizens in social networks. On the basis of the requirements the study explores 37 web-sites tailored for interaction with citizens in public administration in Russia. The article concludes 9 of the web-sites to be considered as electronic platforms designed for public participation while all the rest are aimed at collecting complaints from citizens with no discussing the agenda and making joint decision on the topics. However, the features implemented at defined platforms do not correspond with the functionality available for interaction at modern social networks – it allows citizens to react to the agenda proposed by state authorities in a very restricted way (to vote or not). The article shows that the functionality of existing e-participation platforms in Russia is not supposed to narrow the scope of the government and to limit it to orchestration, but in opposite it demonstrates that the authorities are the only ones responsible for setting the agenda up and for devising the alternatives for voting with very limited reaction functionality for citizens. Having identified current features of e-participation platforms in Russia we assumed that their mission is to inform the citizens and educate them to participate (without active involvement in decision-making process). And this mission could be accomplished in alternative and more effective way without extra spending -by studying the experience of state bodies of other countries on the use of Facebook for the purposes of public participation. If e-participation platforms have another mission, for instance, to involve citizens in decision-making process, the paper suggests upgrading its features up to the level of the best practices of electronic communications which are already in use among the society.