their positions on issues, and their intentions for the future. It's an ongoing Q&A session, conducted more efficiently (and at far less cost) than a series of local meetings or newspaper profiles could ever be.

These ideas are just the beginning of the variety of ways governments can use blogs. Remember, a blog does not require any specialized abilities. It's not one more job for the already-overloaded IT department. It's not a very big job for anyone. Once the blog is established it takes no more time than writing an e-mail. They don't need to be updated every day or every week, and they don't require lengthy entries, or even that all entries be the same length. Because a blog is so easily used, your designated bloggers can make blog entries themselves at any time of day or night, when it fits their schedule.

It is a very small investment in terms of time and money, with a positive return in encouraging citizen participation.

Reprinted from Global PR Week.

Trudy W. Schuett maintains Yuma County's Yuma Technology Consortium blog.

Her main blog is WOLves.