Using the Internet to rebuild trust through knowledge communication
How can websites be used to rebuild trust? In August 2007, the Interstate Highway 35-W bridge in Minneapolis, MN collapsed during rush hour. Although many people were rescued and casualties were as limited as could be expected due to quick and effective intervention, the image of a major bridge collapsing during rush hour damaged the Minnesota Department of Transportation's reputation and resulted in the loss of public trust for the organization. The ensuing bridge reconstruction project included a project website intended to rebuild this trust through transparency, community involvement, and the use of multimodal features. This paper looks at the I35-W bridge reconstruction project in Minneapolis through web-based communication by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) about the project. The MnDOT bridge reconstruction website will be examined using a combination of 1). Weick's notion of sensemaking and 2). Kress and VanLeeuwan's notions of multimodal discourse. These concepts are combined to examine the project website as a site for knowledge communication processes intended to rebuild trust between MnDOT and the Twin Cities community. Results lead to an understanding of the rhetorical processes operating via the project website as an element in the socio-technical design of the bridge, and the emergence of the Project Website as both a Project Management tool and a web genre.
Trust; Videnskommunikation; Knowledge Communication
Main Research Area:
Association for Internet Researchers 10.0: Internet Critical, 2009