Social Media and Government Minitrack

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Social media have received a lot of attention in recent years. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide mechanisms for individuals to come together and create networks based on a variety of factors, such as existing friendships, common interests, and professional or political affiliations. Citizens are increasingly aware of how the use of social networks can facilitate communication and interaction, and potentially support and promote political communication – both among themselves and with government – and greater engagement in public affairs. Social media increase the opportunities for individual users to share digitally-created political content and ideas. Recently, the role of social media in promoting civic engagement and supporting social movements in both democratic and non-democratic countries, where activists use the power of social media to influence events on the ground and promote their causes, has been discussed. Government agencies have also discovered the potential of social media platforms for sharing governmental information and outreach, in order to promote transparency, and increasing citizens’ participation in their public policy making processes. Social media become increasingly powerful communication channels, and enhance opportunities for citizens to provide feedback to government officers and political representatives, and also to share their knowledge, experience and creative ideas (‘citizen-sourcing’). Furthermore, government agencies increasingly discover that social media can effectively support the delivery of services to citizens, and the co- creation of value in co-operation with citizens. However, there are no established practices for the use of social media for the above-mentioned variety of purposes, as social media use is something relatively new in governmental agencies, so many difficulties and challenges exist for the implementation of the above in government.

Moreover, many issues related to privacy, information leakage, blurred boundaries between private and public spheres, and government surveillance, must all be urgently addressed. It is highly important not only to develop effective practices for using social media in government for the above purposes, but also to analyze and evaluate them from various management and political sciences perspectives, to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and also the conditions under which each of them can be useful and effective.

This minitrack aims at attracting high-quality research papers investigating various aspects of social media use, both by citizens for political purposes (political information, opinions and ideas exchange, and also political action and mobilization), and also by government agencies for the aforementioned purposes (disseminating information to citizens for promoting transparency, collecting from them feedback, knowledge, experience and creative ideas (‘citizen-sourcing’), promoting citizens’ participation, value co-creation and supporting services delivery), or other purposes.

Minitrack topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Theoretically sound analysis of case studies concerning the use of online social media by government agencies of various levels (local, regional or central government)
  • Social media for government information sharing and transparency
  • Social media and citizen participation
  • Social media for supporting and promoting value co-creation in co-operation with citizens
  • Social media for government services delivery
  • Development of effective practices for social media use by government agencies for the above purposes or even other purposes
  • Analysis and evaluation of practices for social media use by government agencies
  • Apps and Social media: implementation and challenges
  • Social media use by citizens for political information, opinions and ideas exchange, and political action and mobilization
  • Relationship between online social media use and offline political action
  • Website information link with social media tools
  • Predicting election and other political events using social media content
  • Implementation challenges with respect to social media use in government
  • Maintaining privacy in online social media and other online networks
  • Social media and governance: problems and challenges
  • Social networks and "information overload"
  • Guidelines and policies for social media use in government
  • Legal issues concerning the provision and sharing of information via social media
  • Maturity models of social media use by government agencies
  • Social media use for public agencies’ internal activities
  • Social media use in public-private network

Minitrack Co-Chairs:

Rony Medaglia (Primary Contact)
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

Euripidis N. Loukis
University of the Aegean

Margit Scholl
Technische Hochschule Wildau, Germany


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
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    Social Media Use for Decision Making Process in Educational Settings: The Greek Case for Leadership’s Views and Attitude in Secondary and Tertiary Education
    ( 2017-01-04) Sideri, Maria ; Filippopoulou, Ariadni ; Rouvalis, George ; Kalloniatis, Christos ; Gritzalis, Stefanos
    The emergence of social media and their wide usage have brought changes in almost all fields of public sphere. Nowadays governmental organizations, agencies and politicians use social media in order to ensure major civil participation, enhance e-dialogue and e-democracy consequently, emphasizing thus in participatory processes through which opinions are co-shaped and decisions are jointly made. On the other hand, in another field of public sphere, that of education, social media are mostly used for teaching support, promotion and publicity. Taking into account education’s key role in the cultivation of active citizenship as well as the fact that educational structures are self-governed, the aim of this study was to identify leadership’s views of Greek Secondary and Tertiary Education on the potential use of social media in educational environments for the purpose of a participatory decision-making process which broadens stakeholder involvement in educational policy-making.
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    Social Media and Absorptive Capacity of Greek Government Agencies
    ( 2017-01-04) Loukis, Euripides ; Themistocleous, Marinos ; Nikolaou, Efthymia ; Fragkiskou, Marina
    As the external environment of most organizations becomes increasingly dynamic and complex, the exploitation and management of external knowledge becomes of critical importance for their success. This has led to a growing interest of both researchers and practitioners in the study of their absorptive capacity (ACAP). However, the research that has been conducted in this area has focused on the private sector, while there is a lack of similar research for the public sector. This paper contributes to filling this research gap, by investigating the use of social media (SM) in the public sector from the ACAP perspective, examining to what extent SM are used by Greek government agencies for the enhancement of their ACAP. It has been based on interviews with the SM managers of ten Greek government agencies from the central, regional and municipal government. It is concluded that in the examined government agencies SM are used only to a small extent for enhancing their ACAP, making limited exploitation of the potential that SM have for this purpose. In particular, SM are used to some extent for enhancing one of the components of ACAP, the ability for external exploratory learning, but not at all for enhancing the other two critical components of it: the abilities for transformative and exploitative learning.
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    Predicting Citizens Acceptance of Government-led e-Participation Initiatives through Social Media: A Theoretical Model
    ( 2017-01-04) Alarabiat, Ayman ; Sá Soares, Delfina ; Estevez, Elsa
    Whilst the idea of utilizing social media to advance government-led e-Participation initiatives has proliferated significantly in recent years, mostly such initiatives do not meet the intended expectations, as the majority of them fail to attract wider citizens’ audience. Overall, the key factors that could explain and predict citizens’ participation are not yet thoroughly identified. Therefore, the current study develops a theoretical citizen-centric model that seeks to explain and predict the intention of citizens’ behavior towards their involvement in government-led e-Participation initiatives through social media.The methodological approach is primarily based on utilizing and extending one of the well-known theories for describing a person acceptance behavior, namely the Theory of Planned Behavior. The model applies the main constructs of the Theory – attitude, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control; and complements them with several constructs drawn from relevant literature. The paper contributes to understanding the reasons why citizens decide to engage or not in government-led e-Participation initiatives through social media.
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    Increasing Policy Success through the Use of Social Media Cross-Channels for Citizen Political Engagement
    ( 2017-01-04) Reddick, Christopher ; Chatfield, Akemi Takeoka ; Brajawidagda, Uuf
    In the ubiquitous digitization era, governments increasingly adopt multi-social media channels for the purpose of facilitating citizen engagement towards enhanced government transparency, external political efficacy and policy success. However, little is known about the use of social media cross-channel information-sharing mechanisms for promoting citizen political engagement. We draw on theories of citizen interaction and citizen-centric e-governance to examine the central research question: How can citizens’ become politically engaged through the use of social media cross communication channels? Specifically, we examine and explain YouTube-enabled government-to-citizens interactions and YouTube-Twitter cross-channel information-sharing behaviors among citizens in response to Jakarta, Indonesia’s use of YouTube to inform citizens of the government transparency initiative. We applied social network analysis to examine the structure of and information flows within Twitter social networks formed through the use of cross-channel information-sharing mechanism by YouTube users to tweet the promotion of the YouTube-enabled government transparency videos to their Twitter followers.
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    Europe in the shadow of financial crisis: Policy Making via Stance Classification
    ( 2017-01-04) Spiliotopoulou, Lefkothea ; Damopoulos, Dimitrios ; Charalabidis, Yannis ; Maragoudakis, Manolis ; Gritzalis, Stefanos
    Since 2009, the European Union (EU) is phasing a multi–year financial crisis affecting the stability of its involved countries. Our goal is to gain useful insights on the societal impact of such a strong political issue through the exploitation of topic modeling and stance classification techniques. \ \ To perform this, we unravel public’s stance towards this event and empower citizens’ participation in the decision making process, taking policy’s life cycle as a baseline. The paper introduces and evaluates a bilingual stance classification architecture, enabling a deeper understanding of how citizens’ sentiment polarity changes based on the critical political decisions taken among European countries. \ \ Through three novel empirical studies, we aim to explore and answer whether stance classification can be used to: i) determine citizens’ sentiment polarity for a series of political events by observing the diversity of opinion among European citizens, ii) predict political decisions outcome made by citizens such as a referendum call, ii) examine whether citizens’ sentiments agree with governmental decisions during each stage of a policy life cycle. \
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    Introduction to Social Media and Government Minitrack
    ( 2017-01-04) Medaglia, Rony ; Loukis, Euripidis ; Scholl, Margit