Social Media and Government Minitrack

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

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