Websites and Internet applications that allow user interaction and participation in online discourses have captured the attention of planners and researchers for the potential to increase engagement. However, there is concern about how inclusive these initiatives are of cultural diversity. In this paper I look beyond the binary ‘digital divide’ concept of having Internet access or not in an attempt to bridge the gap between the high level of abstraction present in discussions of the ‘network society’ or ‘global cities’ with the normative discussions of online citizen participation in planning practice. A theoretical analysis of what participation by diverse publics online entails and what the stakes are is combined with a discussion of Web 2.0 practices to provide a ‘lens’ for considering the potential of Internet tools to serve diverse communities as the technology and our use of it continues to change. This analysis informs the recommendation that principles of collaborative planning and expressions of local knowledge should guide future research and practice.