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Jaylyn Jeonghyun Oh ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is a
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Both authors contributed equally to this work, and
the names are listed alphabetically.
© 2018 ACM 0001-0782/18/12 $15.00
pation and promise to reform the nature of politics in Korea. Scholars and
practitioners alike take note.
Along with the confidence netizens
gain through their engagement in
politically significant events and processes, we also identified disappointment over the lack of systematized
channels for the public to report its
personal investigations into political
intrigue. Comments like “Would it be
impossible to have the hearings in a
format like YouTube Live where the
politicians simultaneously read our
comments and proceed? I am sure we
[the users in the community] are way
better at investigating” and reflect the
public need to adjust the system so it
facilitates direct civil participation.
In this regard, a rigorous look at the
needs of Korean citizens will be of
both theoretical and practical value.
Castells4 suggested social and political networks in virtual and physical
space bring political change. Establishing a systematized channel to link
the people and political networks together will help millions of them create political change, as in some cases
they already have, despite the deficiency of such channels.
The true nature of citizens’ political
interest remains a chronic conun-
drum for political scientists. In our
case, public interest in a political
scandal was an underlying factor in
Korean nationwide civic participa-
tion, emphasizing the importance of
public interest in the political arena.
While the subjects in our case, citi-
zen-users and elected public officials,
likely already had strong interest in
political events before the country’s
political intrigue was so publicly re-
vealed, it also shows how such inter-
est can spread to the broader commu-
nity of citizens. Users of other online
communities learned about the case
through shared posts, eventually leav-
ing more than 3,300 replies about the
initial netizen-informant’s initiative,
including, “I really wanted to praise it
so I came up here,” “I saw it in a dif-
ferent community! Cool!,” and “I am
not a member of this community, but
I have heard about it. Thank you [us-
ers of the focal community]. So amaz-
ing!” Expanding a previous finding
by Masip et al. 18 that reading shared
posts by friends leads to more inter-
est and trust than reading posts di-
rectly on the original website, people
can be expected to be more affected
by reading the posts shared by other
members of the same community.
Accessing shared posts across online
communities and social media, more
citizens are more likely to become po-
We identified five enablers of citizen-led e-participation by analyzing a
hearing in the National Assembly, December 7, 2016, of the Parliamentary
Inspection committee concerning the
Park Geun-hye scandal. In a broader
context, the enablers adapted existing communication technology to
serve as the technological foundation
for citizen-led e-participation. Technological advancement, including social media, may spur e-participation
but is less likely to be citizen-led, thus
yielding an unbalanced system. This
is why further research on e-participation is crucial, stressing its effect
on citizens and social media. 1, 8, 16, 21, 22, 26
Such coproduction between citizens
and government “increase the citizens’ sense of well-being as a result of
greater participation.” 19 Only through
targeted study can the citizens of Korea and of other countries achieve
meaningful civic participation.
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