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Beyond Information-Sharing. A Typology Of Government Challenges And Requirements For Two-Way Social Media Communication With Citizens


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Despite great advances in ICT, social media, participatory platforms and mobile apps, we seem to still be locked in the one-way communication "paradigm" where information flows unilaterally from government to citizens and seldom vice-versa. As a result, citizens are more receivers rather than conscious producers of information, data, ideas, solutions and decisions in the context of public policies. By means of an extensive literature review, this paper aims to explore the challenges on the part of government that prevent the transition to more dialogic governance and identifies the requirements for a meaningful application of social media for this purpose. The paper contributes to the literature in three ways: i) redefining a typology of social media-based citizens-government relationship; ii) clarifying the difference between challenges and risks of social media application by governments and identifying a typology of government challenges; and iii) identifying government requirements as a conditio sine-qua non for overcoming these challenges upfront, enabling more effective two-way interactions between governments and citizens. The paper concludes with discussion of implications and directions for further research.
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Reference this paper: Falco, E., and Kleinhans, R., 2018. Beyond Information-Sharing. A Typology Of Government Challenges
And Requirements For Two-Way Social Media Communication With Citizens. The Electronic Journal of e-Government, 16(1),
pp. 18-31, available online at
Beyond Information-Sharing. A Typology Of Government Challenges
And Requirements For Two-Way Social Media Communication With
Enzo Falco and Reinout Kleinhans
Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Department OTB - Research for the Built
Environment, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
Abstract: Despite great advances in ICT, social media, participatory platforms and mobile apps, we seem to still be locked in
the one-way communication “paradigm” where information flows unilaterally from government to citizens and seldom
vice-versa. As a result, citizens are more receivers rather than conscious producers of information, data, ideas, solutions
and decisions in the context of public policies. By means of an extensive literature review, this paper aims to explore the
challenges on the part of government that prevent the transition to more dialogic governance and identifies the
requirements for a meaningful application of social media for this purpose. The paper contributes to the literature in three
ways: i) redefining a typology of social media-based citizens-government relationship; ii) clarifying the difference between
challenges and risks of social media application by governments and identifying a typology of government challenges; and
iii) identifying government requirements as a conditio sine-qua non for overcoming these challenges upfront, enabling more
effective two-way interactions between governments and citizens. The paper concludes with discussion of implications and
directions for further research.
Keywords: Social media, Social media-based collaboration, Government challenges, Government requirements, Citizen
engagement, Two-way communication, Citizens-government relationship
1. Introduction
Social media have become highly embedded in the daily activity patterns of many citizens. Digital and web 2.0
technologies (e.g. online forums, web-GIS, e-petition platforms, wikis, and social networking sites such as
Facebook and Twitter) are supposed to facilitate new forms of citizen participation in government activity
within the framework of concepts such as digital democracy, open and e-government, e-participation and co-
production (Conroy and Evans-Cowley, 2006; Silva, 2010; Meijer, 2011; Desouza and Bhagwatwar, 2014).
Collaboration between governments and citizens is sought in various policy domains, ranging from health care,
crime prevention, public service and information delivery to urban planning, transportation, corruption and so
on (Desouza and Bhagwatwar, 2012).
However, it is still unclear whether the aforementioned digital technologies are able to contribute significantly
to a more active engagement of citizens in policy-making, implementation and (public) service delivery. While it
is widely acknowledged that social media open up opportunities for improved government-to-citizens
interactions and communication (Bertot et al., 2012; Chun and Reyes, 2012; Lee and Kwak 2012, Linders, 2012;
Picazo-Vela et al., 2012; Skoric et al., 2016), some authors highlight the need for a change in government
culture, routines and resource management that also includes connecting in person and taking offline action to
effect change (ALotaibi et al., 2016; Evans-Cowley & Hollander, 2010; Slotterback, 2011; Magro, 2012; Casey
and Li, 2012; Kleinhans et al., 2015). The rise of social media use by governments appears not to have affected
the unilateral relationship between who provides information and takes decisions (playing an active role, the
government) and who receives the information or the consequences of a decision (playing a passive role, the
citizens). In fact, we seem to still be locked in the one-way communication “paradigm” where citizens are more
receivers rather than conscious producers or creators of information, data, ideas, solutions and decisions in the
context of public policies. The actual influence of social media (in general applications that allow creation and
sharing of user-generated content) on decision-making processes and their results is yet to be fully explored.
Many authors have emphasised that current practices have not reached the dialogic (two-way communication
and collaboration) ideal of governance (Desouza and Bhagwatwar, 2012; Zavattaro and Sementelli, 2014;
Afzalan and Evans-Cowley, 2015; Ertiö, 2015).
Enzo Falco and Reinout Kleinhans 19 ISSN 1479-439X
The need for more effective and substantial two-way communication between governments and citizens is not
just a product of technological progress. Due to the prolonged economic crisis, many European countries have
installed austerity measures and severe cuts and reforms in public policy. To mitigate austerity regimes and
continuing welfare state retrenchment, governments promote active citizenship, citizens are invited to take
(more) responsibility and fill in gaps left by government spending cuts in health care, education, employment
and neighbourhood governance (Voorberg et al., 2015). This challenge for citizens does not require less but
rather more two-way interaction, or at least more effective dialogue between citizens and governments. They
need to make better use of each other’s assets and resources to achieve better outcomes and/or more
efficiency in (public) service delivery. In essence, this is a definition of co-production (Bovaird and Loeffler,
2012: 1121), implying that two-way communication and collaboration between governments and active
citizens, both offline and online, are a sine qua non for co-production.
Considering the growing importance of co-production and the widespread acknowledgement that social media
create opportunities for ‘better’ interactions between governments and citizens, the question is why current
practices of social media application have not reached the aforementioned transition to a dialogic ideal of
governance. Using an extensive literature review, this paper aims to explore the challenges on the part of
government that prevent such a transition and identify the requirements for a meaningful application of social
media that enables two-way communication between governments and citizens. While the literature on social
media challenges is abundant, this paper contributes to the extant literature through a clarification and
systematization of three issues:
1. the confusion regarding the nature and various intensity of citizens-government relationships due to
a proliferation of categorizations of these relationships in the literature that tend to overlook each
2. the nature and types of challenges for governments because of a tendency to confuse challenges
and other elements such as requirements and risks, while we will show that they are different;
3. the essential initial requirements (from the government) to apply social media in a more dialogic
Hence, the paper tries to answer questions such as: beyond the readily available technology, what steps do
governments need to take for two-way communication and meaningful collaboration with citizens? What
challenges do governments face in the application of social media for such purposes and what are the
necessary requirements that allow challenges to be addressed?
The paper is structured as follows. Section 2 identifies and clarifies the levels of social media-based interaction
between citizens and government that may lead to collaboration and/or co-production. In section 3, we
present the research design that has been utilised to conduct this research. In section 4, a specific typology of
government challenges is defined. Section 5 provides a typology of the requirements that governments need to
meet to address the challenges. Section 6 sets out the conclusions and the specific contribution of this work to
the wider literature and e-government activity.
2. Types of social media-based citizens-government relationship
The use of social media, defined as internet-based applications built on the ideological and technological
foundations of Web 2.0 that are designed to facilitate dissemination of information, interaction, and exchange
of user-generated content (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010; Kavanaugh et al., 2012), allows new forms of
interaction and civic engagement to emerge and is adding on to other forms of communication, rather than
replacing them (Wellman et al., 2003; Wenger et al., 2009; Chun and Reyes, 2012; Lee and Kwak 2012, Linders,
2012; van Varik & van Oostendorp, 2013; Skoric et al., 2016). In this paper, we will refer to these forms as types
of the citizens-government relationship typology within which different types and levels of communication,
interaction and involvement can be found. These new types of citizens-government relationship have been
discussed by many authors, but categorizations available in the literature are often overlooked by authors
trying to develop their own categorization (McMillan, 2002; Suen, 2006; Linders, 2012; Khan, 2015; Mergel,
2013; Williamson and Parolin, 2013; De Souza and Bhagwatwar, 2014; Li and Feeney, 2014; Ertiö, 2015; Jones,
2015). This has increased rather than cleared confusion. Generally, three levels with an increasing degree of
interaction are identified:
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Information sharing. One-way communication from government to citizens. McMillan (2002) calls
this Monologues whereas Linders (2012: 449) defines this level Government as a Platform.
Interaction (two-way communication with dialogue between citizens and government
representatives flowing both ways). McMillan (2002) calls this mutual discourse.
Civic engagement, involvement, collaboration: on this level, the two-way interactions go beyond
basic information exchange to ‘materialise’ in policy measures or other interventions. This level is
also known as co-production, i.e. the public sector and citizens making better use of each other’s
assets and resources to achieve better outcomes and improved efficiency (Bovaird and Loeffler
2012: 1121).
However, some authors (e.g. Desouza and Bhagwatwar, 2014; Ertiö, 2015) identify more levels and sub-levels
which further specify the role of and information flows between the actors involved in the citizen-government
relationship. Ertiö (2015) for example identifies consultation as a sub-level of information sharing where
information flows one-way from citizens to governments, and criteria power (ability of citizens to determine a
policy or service) and operational power (ability of citizens to determine how a policy or service is carried out in
practice) as the two sub-levels of civic engagement, involvement and collaboration (the author calls this level
empowerment). Interestingly, Desouza and Bhagwatwar (2014: 37) in their four archetypes of technology-
enabled participatory platforms identify the citizen-centric and citizen-sourced data archetype “as an
alternative medium for citizens to organize themselves to make a difference in their local communities.”
Linders (2012) calls this level Do it Yourself Government.
This, in our opinion, is the ‘top’ level of the citizen-government relationship typology in which citizens self-
organize to produce solutions. However, at this level there may be little or no interaction between citizens and
government as self-organization is predominantly effectuated by citizens. Interaction takes place only where
choice and implementation of the solution still requires some government action, as Desouza and Bhagwatwar
(2014) and Linders (2012) emphasise in their categorizations. However, in this Do it Yourself and citizen-to-
citizen relationship type, we also find self-organization among citizens about matters of private interest that
concern individual decisions (where to find the best plumbing service, or the best school for their children). In
such a case there is not necessarily a relationship between citizens and government. Hence, government action
is not by definition required. This kind of self-organization about private and individual matters may result in
two different kinds of output: in the first case they stay in the domain of private and individual choice without
impacting the public sphere. In the second case, they may develop into demands of public interest (new
playground needed, new kindergarten) that require some government action, for example in terms of building
permits. It is for this latter reason that we include them in the self-organization level. Based on the
international literature, the levels of the citizens-government relationship typology can be defined as in Table 1
Table 1: Typology of social media-based citizens-government relationship
Levels Sub-levels
Information sharing Informing: One-way communication (‘broadcasting’) from government to citizens.
Consulting: One-way communication from citizens to governments.
Interaction Two-way communication with dialogue and feedback between citizens and government
Co-production The public sector and citizens making better use of each other’s assets and resources to achieve
better outcomes and improved efficiency.
Self-organization Citizens create solutions independently that are to be recognised, facilitated or adopted by
governments and require some government action.
Citizens share information and self-organize for matters of private interest that may develop into
public demands requiring some government action.
However, despite a growing number of web-based and mobile-based platforms where people can express their
opinion, identify local problems and propose solutions, authors highlight persisting issues, including “little
evidence of social media being used to create mutual discourse communication” (Williamson and Parolin;
2013: 560), a model of “participatory sensing rather than participatory decision-making through apps” (Ertiö;
2015: 317), and “a large segment of the population (…) does not feel comfortable making use of emerging
social media (Linders, 2012: 452).
Enzo Falco and Reinout Kleinhans 21 ISSN 1479-439X
In sum, while the technology is readily available, we find that government is not fully exploiting the potential of
such platforms, so there are probably issues and challenges that prevent governments from further developing
and using the communicative potential of social media. The challenges may relate to technical, organizational,
and online matters, but also to factors that are predominantly of an offline nature. While recent research has
explored those factors affecting citizens’ decisions to use social media platforms for communication with their
government (ALotaibi et al., 2016), we still lack a proper answer to the following question: what are the
challenges for government to application of social media platforms in ways that enable effective two-way
communication about ideas and solutions?
In the next section the research design is discussed. The aim of section 4 is to identify the challenges that can
hinder web-based two-way communication through social media.
3. Research Design
In order to perform our extensive review of government challenges and requirements we split our work into
two phases: the first one dedicated to the challenges and the second phase to the requirements. We decided
not to employ a systematic literature review method because of the extremely high number of articles on
social media use which would have included too many irrelevant sources (i.e. topics such as advertising,
healthcare, families and parenting). Instead, we decided to employ a snowball approach and built our body of
literature through this method. As far as the challenges are concerned, we started with a Google Scholar search
via the most relevant keywords to our study of social media challenges for government organizations:
“government social media” and “social media challenges”. In order to identify the most relevant research
articles among the Google Scholar search results, we started from those which contained in their title the term
social media in connection with either the word government/public sector or challenges and were cited more
than 100 times (according to Google Scholar) (e.g. Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010; Mergel, 2010; Bertot et al., 2010
& 2012; Kavanaugh et al., 2012; Linders, 2012; Macnamara and Zerfass, 2012; Magro, 2012; Picazo-Vela et al.,
2012; Khan et al., 2014. Zavattaro and Sementelli, 2014). We have mainly reviewed studies that focus on the
application of social media in government and highlight challenges specific to their case studies and surveys
(e.g. Evans-Cowley and Hollander, 2010; Landsbergen, 2010; Casey & Li, 2012; Kavanaugh et al., 2012; Picazo-
Vela et al., 2012; Mergel, 2013; Williamson and Parolin, 2013; Afzalan and Evans-Cowley, 2015; Alasem, 2015;
Bonson et al., 2015; Jukic & Merlak, 2017). The snowball approach used the reference lists of the
aforementioned studies to identify and further build up relevant literature. However, we did not limit our
search for challenges to government and e-government studies only. Literature from other fields was also used
such as business, management and corporate social media (Farhoomand et al., 2000; Kaplan and Haenlein,
2010; Kuikka and Akkinen, 2011; Poba-Nzaou et al., 2016) since some issues and challenges originating from
these fields (e.g. organization reputation, human resources, resistance to change) are relevant for the public
sector too.
As far as the requirements are concerned, we started from the concept of capabilities to which scholars
generally refer in the e-government literature (e.g. Layne and Lee, 2001, Gottschalk, 2009; Klievink and
Janssen, 2009; Lee, 2010; Valdes et al., 2011; Lee and Kwak, 2012; Fath-Allah et al., 2014; Khan, 2015) and
extended our review to the maturity models and maturity stages, and their inherent capabilities, of adoption
and implementation of social media and ICT in government (see Table 3 in section 5). The analysis of these
capabilities informs our identification of requirements that governments need to meet. We also look at
business literature since social media have been used in business for longer than in government and
requirements could potentially be drawn from here, especially with regard to financial, budget, analysis, and
monitoring elements (Lehmkuhl et al., 2013; Geyer and Krumay, 2015).
4. Challenges to application of social media by government
In this section we review and focus specifically on the challenges that make it hard for governments to engage
in two-way communication activities with citizens. However, before we start our review of challenges, it is of
utmost importance to define what we mean by ‘challenge’ to the use of social media by the government. Poba-
Nzaou et al. (2016: 4011) define challenges as “any issue an organization may have that may prevent them
from adopting social media.” However, this definition seems too general for our purposes. We feel that a clear
definition of challenges is lacking in the literature and there is a general tendency to include other elements,
e.g. risks, in the challenges category. We focus on challenges and try to clarify what is meant by challenges,
why they are different from risks and therefore cannot be included in the same category.
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4.1 Definition of challenges
Challenge is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “a task or situation that tests someone’s abilities”. The
Cambridge Dictionary defines challenge as “(the situation of being faced with) something that needs
great mental or physical effort in order to be done successfully and therefore tests a person's ability.” As can be
seen, both definitions emphasise the ability of a person to do something (a task). For our categorization
purposes, it is necessary to further clarify what an ability is as a prerequisite to identify the challenges. The
Oxford Dictionary defines ability as the “possession of the means or skill to do something”. The Cambridge
Dictionary defines it as “the physical or mental power or skill needed to do something.” In our case the focus is
on government and so we can define the abilities (means, power and skills) of government as the set of human
and financial resources that the government possesses to do something. Thus, challenge can be defined as the
situation or task that tests the government’s abilities (resources, skills and expertise) to do something, namely
adopt, use and optimise social media for two-way communication and collaboration strategies with citizens.
On the contrary, risks are negative or unwanted consequences (Khan et al., 2014) that arise after the
government has started using social media. Risks differ from challenges in their nature and because they arise
usually at a later stage and as a consequence of not properly addressing challenges. It derives that the ability to
address challenges will reduce and mitigate risks. Examples of risks are related to intellectual property or
copyright infringement, psychological consequences, identity theft, public criticism, the amount of time that
government employees without social media duties and responsibilities spend on social media while at work,
system failures and downtime. Even though extremely important for the success of social media projects, risks
are not the focus of this section. Also, in this section we are not interested in the factors that influence the
usefulness of social media, the satisfaction of the general public with government social media, citizens’
adoption of e-government services, and the success of social media implementation (e.g. Creswell et al., 2006;
Hrdinova et al., 2010; Shareef et al., 2011). Some of them are of course interrelated (e.g. availability of a social
media strategy is fundamental for the success of social media projects), but our focus is explicitly placed on
4.2 Typology of challenges
Different categorizations of challenges have been already attempted in the literature (e.g. Bertot et al., 2012;
Meijer et al., 2012; Picazo-Vela et al., 2012; Khan et al., 2014). We review the challenges that have been
identified through both empirical applications of social media in government (e.g. in urban planning) and
surveys and interviews with government officials. Two categorizations are particularly useful for our purposes.
First, Kuikka and Akkinen (2011) distinguish between challenges based on whether they are internal or
external to the organization. Second, Poba-Nzaou et al. (2016) distinguish between challenges directly
associated with social media and challenges not related to social media themselves. We will call these direct
and indirect challenges, respectively.
We will first discuss the challenges based on the internal/external categorization and then we will move on to
present whether they can be considered direct or indirect through the help of a matrix that defines a typology
of challenges for social media application by governments.
4.2.1 External challenges
As the name indicates, this kind of challenges comes from aspects that are external to the organization.
Therefore, the organization has little or no power to address the causes of these challenges in advance or to
influence their scope. Borrowing from the categorization and conceptual framework of Picazo-Vela et al. (2012:
507) (general context, institutional framework, inter-organizational collaboration and networks, organizational
structures and processes, information and data, technology), we found that external challenges fall within the
categories of general context, institutional framework, data and technology.
Generally, the main external challenge identified in the literature is related to the general context and concerns
Internet accessibility, digital illiteracy and the digital divide of the population. This is normally considered not to
be a major issue in the Western World where the majority of people have access to the Internet. However, as
many authors highlight (Burkhardt et al., 2014; Bertot et al., 2012; Picazo-Vela et al., 2012) if we broaden the
spectrum of countries and contexts, people and age groups, limited access to the Internet by the wider
population and their low ability to use social media can constitute a problem for government and complicate
the use of social media for the dissemination of information, provision of services, collaboration with citizens
Enzo Falco and Reinout Kleinhans 23 ISSN 1479-439X
and so on. However, single government organizations have little power or too few means to overcome limited
access and citizens’ lack of abilities to reduce the digital divide.
Other external challenges come from the institutional framework. Bertot et al. (2012) provide an extensive
analysis of the impact of U.S. laws and regulations on the use of social media by government. Examples are
regulations on accessibility of social media by people with disabilities and in different languages, on privacy,
data protection and security. Availability of information in different languages and for the visually impaired
requires further work and expertise from the government. With regard to privacy and data protection, external
challenges also relate to the use of third party social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) and ownership of
the data and information that is posted to them.
Finally, Poba-Nzaou and colleagues (2016) identify challenges related to data management and technology that
can be classified as external ones. These relate to the complexity and high speed of (global) technological
change of social media, and the completeness, accuracy, and format of data and information coming from the
public which test government’s abilities as consumer of this externally created information.
4.2.2 Internal challenges
Contrary to external challenges, internal challenges depend on aspects that are internal to the organization and
its structure (e.g. Voorberg et al., 2015), and which the organization can directly influence. Several internal
challenges are identified in the literature. Again, referring to the categorization of Picazo-Vela et al., (2012), we
can relate internal challenges to organizational structures and processes, information, data and technology. As
can be noted, we do not consider “inter-organizational collaboration and networks” since we believe that this
category gives rise to challenges that are included in the three previously mentioned internal categories (e.g.
uniformity of data, consistent technology between government agencies, and relationships between agencies
in terms of functions and hierarchy).
The first set of internal organizational and process-related challenges can be linked to the preparation of a clear
strategy and policy guidelines for social media use regarding purposes, target audience, what, when and how
often to post, announcing and publicizing social media use (Heeks, 2006; Landsbergen, 2010; Bryer and
Zavattaro, 2011). Macnamara and Zerfass (2012) in their study found that about 20 percent of surveyed
organizations had a broad social media strategy and about 35 percent had social media guidelines. As Mergel
(2013) stresses in her work, based on 25 interviews with US federal government agencies’ representatives,
there is little reflection to strategically plan out engagement activities beyond pushing government information
out through social media. The lack of a social media strategy and guidelines can depend on a second set of
internal challenges that relate to the structure of the organization and organizational culture. As Curtis et al.
(2010) suggest, organizations with a strong public relations department are more likely to adopt and use social
media. Farhoomand et al. (2000), Williamson and Parolin (2013), and Voorberg et al. (2015) emphasise that as
regards the organization culture, challenges concern lack of knowledge and understanding of the value and
benefits that could be gained from citizen input to public service delivery, lack of management commitment,
resistance to change, and negative attitudes. Meijer et al. (2012) stress the importance of availability of
transformational leadership as one of the main challenges to achieve institutional innovation.
Another important internal challenge comes from the management and business literature (Kuikka and
Akkinen, 2011) in terms of reputation of the organization. The reputation challenge is believed to apply to
government agencies too and can derive from public criticisms. Government agencies need to be able to
handle criticism on social media related, for example, to lack of political commitment to policy agenda and
social issues, episodes of corruption, unpopular decisions on public investment and so on. This challenge
depends on the organization’s decisions and can be managed and influenced by the organization itself. We
consider this as a direct challenge when it arises on social media channels. Other internal challenges relate to
availability of trained personnel and expertise, and cost justification to retrain public relations managers or hire
new personnel to guarantee timely responses to citizens’ comments and questions on social media to foster
two-way communication (Landsbergen, 2010; Bryer Zavattaro, 2011; Bovaird & Loeffler, 2012; Kavanaugh et
al., 2012; Lee and Kwak, 2012).
The last set of internal challenges regard data management and technology. The government agency needs to
guarantee the objectivity of data, its quality, integrity and openness (e.g. accessible formats, complete, reliable
and updated data) (Bertot et al., 2012). Hardware, software and infrastructure needs also represent a
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challenge and if not well planned could result in incompatibility of systems and use of untested technology (e.g.
all departments of an agency using the same social media platform) (Pica-Vela et al., 2012).
After having categorized the challenges in internal and external categories, Table 2 summarises the different
sub-categories and highlights whether a challenge can be considered direct or indirect. Based on this, the next
section discusses and identifies the requirements on the part of government that (if these are properly
satisfied) allow challenges to be overcome upfront.
Table 2: A typology of challenges: Direct-Indirect and Internal-External
Direct challenges Indirect Challenges
Internal challenges Availability of social media strategy and
policy guidelines.
Data management, technology and
proper understanding of benefits.
Organizational reputation
Organization structure and
Availability of trained
personnel, expertise, cost
External challenges Digital divide and inaccessibility
Complexity and speed of social media
change (data protection, privacy and
Accuracy, completeness, and format of
social media data coming from the public.
Institutional framework,
laws and regulations.
5. Organizational and technological requirements
After having reviewed the different levels of the relationship between citizens and government (see Table 1)
and defined the challenges that governments face in the adoption and use of social media for two-way
communication purposes, it is now important to focus and understand the actions, processes and
requirements that the government needs to meet for an application of social media that leads to meaningful
two-way communication with citizens. In the e-government literature, scholars generally refer to capabilities
rather than requirements (e.g. Layne and Lee, 2001, Gottschalk, 2009; Klievink and Janssen, 2009; Valdes et al.,
2011; Lee and Kwak, 2012; Khan, 2015). However, we feel that the term ‘requirement’ is able to express the
role of such conditions better than capability, since the latter gives the idea of something that should be part of
government’s abilities, skills and expertise. Instead, we believe that a requirement is a necessary condition, a
pre-requisite that however does not have to be necessarily part of what the government is able to do
(capability, skills, expertise). Certain requirements can be outsourced (e.g. analytics and use of metrics, as
discussed later). Hence, requirement refers to any necessary condition, i.e. a conditio sine qua non, for
application of social media in a way that allows two-way communication and perhaps the co-production level
of the government-citizens relationship to be reached. Taking the necessary actions to meet the requirements
would enable the government to get rid of, mitigate or more easily address the previously explained challenges
once they arise. Such requirements are very unlikely to be addressed all at once but rather in consecutive steps
over time. Hence, we are interested in stage models that conceptualise the capabilities (requirements) to
transition from less to more mature stages of social media use by governments. Such models are commonly
found in the literature on e-government.
For example, Lee (2010) carried out a qualitative review of 12 stage models of e-government and highlighted
the main concepts and themes (information, interaction, transaction, and so on) that are common to the
different models in different stages. Fath-Allah et al. (2014) carried out a review of 25 models developed over
time, focusing on the differences and similarities between models and the features of different stages. These
two studies, however, do not focus on the requirements needed to move from one maturity stage of e-
government to the next one.
We try to integrate these two reviews with models that were overlooked and seek to focus more on the
models that are dedicated specifically to social media (and their requirements) rather than e-government in
general. We include models that were produced in academic literature only, thus excluding those produced by
international organizations like the United Nations or consultancy firms like Accenture (UN, 2001 and 2012;
Accenture, 2003). Also, we focus on more recent models without the need to go back to the late 1970s (Nolan,
1979) and early 1990s (Galliers and Sutherland, 1991) when the internet and social media did not exist. Table 3
below summarises the relevant literature that we have reviewed in relation to e-government models and in
particular the needed capabilities to transition from a less mature to a more mature stage of social media use
Enzo Falco and Reinout Kleinhans 25 ISSN 1479-439X
in government. We are not trying to integrate different models into a single model. Rather, the review of
capabilities informs our identification of requirements that governments need to meet in order to move from a
lower stage of social media use (information-sharing purposes) to a higher stage (interaction and co-production
purposes), as identified in Table 1. We focus our attention on the higher-stage capabilities found in the
literature (stages 3 to 5, see Table 3) as more relevant to identify the essential requirements for achieving two-
way communication between citizens and government.
Requirements also emerge from the analysis of the challenges carried out in the previous section. Different
from the challenges, we believe that there is no need to distinguish between internal and external
requirements here, since by definition government requirements need government (internal) action. Instead,
we adopt the same classification as Lee and Kwak (2012) who make a distinction between organizational and
technological capabilities and see it as fit for the concept of requirements. Moreover, we again distinguish
between direct and indirect requirements which, just as in the previous section on challenges, directly concern
social media and their features in the case of direct requirements and other elements such as the legal
framework, governance and interoperability, financial and budget management in the case of indirect
Table 3: Review of e-government and social media (SM)-based Maturity Models capabilities
Models 1st Stage capabilities 2nd Stage capabilities 3rd Stage capabilities 4th Stage capabilities 5th Stage capabilities
Growth model
(Layne and Lee,
Create index website.
Link to other sites.
Site maintenance.
Allocate specific
Set privacy
Set roles and
Set online transactions.
Define interactive
Set security
authentication and
Vertically integrate
systems at different
levels (federal, state,
Horizontally integrate
different functions of
government services.
Determine a change in
the mindset of agency
Public Sector
Maturity Model
(Andersen and
Henriksen, 2006)
Horizontal & vertical
integration within
Change front-end
Adoption and use of
Extensive use of
Create personalized
web interface for
customer processes.
Assume end-user
Create accountable
and transparent
Achieve data and
service mobility across
Guarantee ownership
of data transferred to
Maturity Model
Integrate hardware,
software, information,
Align work processes
Collect, store and
share knowledge.
Achieve inter-
Share values on
products, services,
problems, solutions,
Create synergy on
strategies and goals.
Maturity Model
(Klievink and
Janssen, 2009)
Develop applications
used and shared by
various organizations.
Set up system
Change commitment
and culture.
Networking and
relationship (within
Enable intra-
Organise service
Develop generic
Develop domain
Achieve integration,
Assume external
Manage system
project, service, and
Identify user
System Architecture
Set up planning and
sourcing activities.
Arrange service level
Obtain central
leadership and political
Orchestrate service
Define a management
Establish inter-
Orchestrate service
Set up service
Open Gov.
Maturity Model
(Lee and Kwak,
Publish online only
limited and not up to
date data.
Publish online high
value government
Improve data quality
(accuracy, consistency,
and timeliness).
Develop data privacy
governance, structure.
Build culture of
Post and share user
created content.
Optimize data
governance structure
and processes.
Enhance data privacy
and security.
Set up data analytics
for new insights and
improving decision-
Train government
employees to develop
data analysis skills.
Expand depth of data
Make data accessible
easily by mobile
Achieve seamless
integration of data
analytics with
government activities.
Realize public value of
The Electronic Journal of e-Government Volume 16 Issue 1 2018 26 ©ACPIL
Models 1st Stage capabilities 2nd Stage capabilities 3rd Stage capabilities 4th Stage capabilities 5th Stage capabilities
Adoption Process
(Mergel and
Push for adoption of
SM (“intrapreneurial”
change agents).
Expand domain of use
(number of
applications and
Set standard processes
for technology
Set standards for
privacy, access, and
accuracy of
Accept organizational
changes in culture and
Set standards, rules
and processes to
manage process and
resources associated
with SM adoption.
Formalize ICT
Train and support SM
--- ---
Gov. 2.0
Utilization Model
(Khan, 2015)
Develop SM expertise.
Earmark financial
Develop e-government
Establish dedicated SM
Collaborate with
Achieve cross-agency
Provide online service
through SM.
--- ---
SM for
(Lehmkuhl et al.,
Partially integrate SM
content with existing
Use process measures
(number of
Define employees
directly involved with
Accept SM use (by
Define SM objectives.
Develop and publish
dedicated SM
Assess performance
(number of responses,
amount of user
generated content).
Define SM budget.
Identify indirectly
involved employees.
Accept SM use (by
early adopters).
Define a centralised
perspective of SM.
Differentiate type of
information and
contents to publish on
SM channels.
Use qualitative
measures (customer
Set up centralised SM
Identify management
collaboration between
Accept SM use (by
early majority).
Integrate SM entirely
into organization’s
Define a brand
Assess user generated
content (sentiment
Use budget only for
major adaptations
(operations are
integrated and run
Integrate external
partners into SM
Accept SM use (by late
SM as enabler of new
Full align SM channels
and other media.
Link SM to organization
Make SM part of
regular communication
(no specific budget
Identify all points of
interactions with
external users and
Accept SM use (by
almost all staff).
SM Maturity
Model (Geyer and
Krumay, 2015) **
Define responsibilities
and flow of actions.
Define a SM strategy.
Align SM to other
Set up privacy and
security guidelines.
Define SM related
Describe roles and
Prepare SM guidelines.
Set up SM expert pool.
Define code of
Establish dedicated ICT
Monitor SM activity.
Understand and assess
relevant stakeholders’
Integrate SM across
different company’s
Align SM channels
across departments.
Arrange community
and crisis management
Establish training
programs and career
paths for employees.
* From this table we are excluding the capabilities of Stage 0 of the model “no degree of maturity”.
**We have merged the capabilities from two different stages (SM integration and SM strategy) into stage 4.
5.1 Organizational requirements
Organizational requirements refer to the processes, roles, policies, resources, governance settings that the
government needs to meet if social media are to be used for two-way communication. Our analysis excludes
fundamental cultural elements such as a civic culture of openness, transparency and collaboration. These basic
and contextual elements are fundamental for leveraging social media in government. However, single (local)
government agencies usually have little or no power to influence and shape them.
One of the basic organizational requirements (generally found in the capabilities of stages 1 to 3 of Table 3
above) is to have in place a social media strategy and a set of guidelines (Valdes et al., 2011; Lee and Kwak,
2012; Picazo-Vela et al., 2012; Khan, 2015; Lehmkuhl et al., 2013; Geyer and Krumay, 2015). Through the social
media strategy the government agency determines whether it wants to use a push, pull or networking strategy
(Mergel, 2010), the type and purposes of social media it wants to use (e.g. relational, expressive, informational)
(Skoric et al., 2016), its objectives, the targeted audience, stakeholders and influencers (both private and
public), community and crisis/reputation management processes, monitoring and measuring activities. Slightly
different from the social media strategy is the preparation of guidelines which determine how often to post,
Enzo Falco and Reinout Kleinhans 27 ISSN 1479-439X
the kind of information, responsiveness, acceptance of comments, and wording and behaviour guidelines
(Geyer and Krumay, 2015). As different authors highlight (Lee and Kwak, 2012; Meijer et al., 2012; Mergel and
Bretschneider, 2013) it is also essential to obtain political support, sponsorship and acceptance by the
organizational leadership of the social media initiative and develop mutual trust with citizens.
Another essential set of requirements relates to the structure of the organization and governance in terms of
interoperability and integration between departments of the same agency or of different agencies (these last
ones are generally found in the higher stages of Table 3). Dedicated departments, trained personnel, financial
resources in the budget, roles, tasks and responsibilities such as social media managers, experts, analysts and
consultants also need to be determined (Lee and Kwak, 2012; Lehmkuhl, 2013). Mergel and Bretschneider
(2013) emphasize the need for co-ordination and governance among different sub-units of an agency in order
to avoid for example the creation of multiple social media accounts. Gottschalk (2009) and Klievink and Janssen
(2009) place strong emphasis on this aspect also in terms of inter-organizational exchanges of best practices
and back-office coordination for joined service delivery.
The last set of organizational requirements concern the definition of an up-to-date regulatory framework in
terms of privacy, disclosure of confidential information, authentication, security, ethical issues and service
agreements with third-party social media providers (Layne and Lee, 2001; Lee and Kwak, 2012).
5.2 Technological requirements
As regards the technological requirements, which are closely linked to the organizational ones, we found that
these are mainly related to three areas: ICT infrastructure, data, and technological skills.
ICT infrastructure and architecture (lower stages of Table 3) (networks, information systems) need to be
aligned between different departments and with the technology that the agency has chosen for its social media
initiative. Standards-setting processes need to involve hardware as well as software to allow the different sub-
units of an agency to collaborate effectively (Gottschalk, 2009; Klievink and Janssen, 2009; Mergel and
Bretschneider, 2013). As far as data are concerned (higher stages of Table 3), we can distinguish two
dimensions: firstly, data and information created and published by the agency; and secondly, data and
information gathered from social media channels. Ownership and control over data produced and shared by
the agency is required as well as quality in terms of accuracy, timeliness, and consistency (Lee and Kwak, 2012).
The agency also needs to set up standards and guidelines for social media data and feedback collection,
archiving mechanisms and communication procedures (Geyer and Krumay, 2015).
The final set of requirements is linked with technological and analytical skills within the organization (higher
stages of Table 3). Moderating, monitoring and measuring social media activities and their impact on followers
is essential. Technological skills such as data crawling and mining, content and sentiment analysis are required
if the government intends to use the social media data and feedback to improve or create new services,
activities and decisions. As can be seen, this set of requirements is strictly related with organizational
requirements to train or hire skilled personnel. Geyer and Krumay (2015: 1865) call this set of skills “social
media listening and monitoring” as a fundamental element to understand and assess the opinions of relevant
stakeholders. Lee and Kwak (2012) distinguish between process-centric metrics and outcome-centric metrics.
While the former tend to focus more on quantitative aspects such as number of visitors, downloads, published
datasets, likes, retweets, shares and so on (for use of such metrics see for example Bonson et al., 2015;
Agostino and Arnaboldi, 2015), the latter focus more on intangible aspects such as learning, innovation,
creation of best practices, and continuous public engagement. Table 4 summarizes the requirements that we
have identified in the literature review through the analysis of the maturity models and classifies them on the
basis of whether they can be considered direct or indirect. In the concluding section, we present the discussion
and conclusions of this review paper. We also provide some directions for future research.
The Electronic Journal of e-Government Volume 16 Issue 1 2018 28 ©ACPIL
Table 4: A typology of requirements: Organizational/technological and Direct/Indirect
Direct requirements Indirect requirements
SM Strategy.
SM Guidelines.
Trained personnel for technological skills
(see below).
Political support and sponsorship.
Governance and interoperability.
Update of the legal framework to support
and regulate the use of SM in
Technological requirements Set metrics on how to measure, assess,
monitor activity and impact.
SM feedback management, analysis and
interpretation techniques (data crawling
and mining; content and sentiment
ICT Infrastructure aligned between
departments and with chosen
Ownership and control over data and
information published, data and storage
6. Discussion and Conclusions
Since the turn of the millennium, we have witnessed the rise of popular social media and the associated wide
belief in their utility for facilitating new forms of citizen participation in government activity (Linders, 2012;
Picazo-Vela et al., 2012; Skoric et al., 2016). More recently, austerity regimes and post-crisis recovery policies
have resulted in multi-scalar government invitations that ask citizens to take (more) responsibility and engage
more with governments. Despite this twofold window of opportunity for stronger interaction, a one-way
communication “paradigm” where citizens are still receivers of public policy seems to prevail (Casey and Li,
2012; Mergel 2013; Kleinhans et al., 2015). It is highly unlikely that this lack of progress can be ascribed only to
technological issues. Rather, the evidence points at governments’ organizational and human resources as a
bottleneck. Instead of moving the field forward, confusion has been created by a proliferation of problem
categorizations in the literature that tend to overlook each other and a tendency to mix different elements that
may hinder government application of social media (e.g. confuse risks with challenges). Therefore, this paper
has set out to clear part of the confusion and to contribute to the literature by providing typologies of
government-citizen relationships, challenges and requirements, based on a review of literature from the fields
of public administration, urban planning, business, management and corporate social media. As such, it takes a
different viewpoint from papers that unilaterally delve into technological implications.
We have argued that clearing up confusion requires, first of all, integrating various definitions and intensities of
interaction between citizens and governments into a relatively ‘simple’ but comprehensive typology of social
media-based citizens-government relationship with four levels: information-sharing, interaction, co-
production, and self-organisation (Table 1). With each level, the complexity of relationships increases, creating
both challenges and requirements for governments to facilitate appropriate two-way communication.
Secondly, confusion can be reduced if we distinguish between challenges and risks, and focus on challenges on
the part of government that may prevent a transition to social media-supported interaction and dialogic
governance with citizens. We define challenges as situations or tasks that test governments’ abilities to adopt,
use and optimise social media for two-way communication and collaboration strategies with citizens.
Challenges are not to be confused with risks, which usually arise as a consequence of not properly addressing
challenges. The typology (see Table 2) distinguishes between challenges that are either internal or external to
an organization, and, in line with Poba-Nzaou et al. (2016), between challenges directly associated with social
media and challenges not related to social media themselves: direct versus indirect challenges.
Finally, this paper defines requirements as any necessary condition for the use of social media in a way that
allows two-way communication and/or the co-production level of the government-citizens relationship to be
reached. In line with Lee and Kwak (2012), our typology of requirements distinguishes between organizational
and technological requirements and between direct and indirect requirements (see Table 4). In brief,
requirements are conditions that must be met to improve two-way communication, whereas challenges reflect
situations that test governments’ abilities to use social media for this purpose. Key organisational requirements
relate to social media strategies, guidelines, structure of the organization, and governance. Key technological
requirements relate to ICT infrastructure, data management, and technological skills.
There are of course limitations to this research. Being grounded in literature reviews, the findings need
contextualisation, based on characteristics of specific settings, ranging from national contexts to local
organisational cultures. Moreover, considering the origin of the used literature, the findings may reveal a slight
Enzo Falco and Reinout Kleinhans 29 ISSN 1479-439X
imbalance towards the situation in the USA, compared to Europe. Our typologies can be used as a starting
point for further refinement and empirical testing in specific situations. They are particularly useful to
systematically evaluate cases of ‘networked co-production’ of citizens and governments (Meijer, 2011), to
reveal to what extent governments have addressed all challenges and to what extent requirements towards
effective two-way communication can be met. Future research may also rank various challenges and
requirements according to their (relative) importance and target specific challenges or requirements for
governments in more detail. Finally, even if challenges and requirements for social media use are well
addressed, online two-way communication between governments and citizens requires offline follow-up
actions to make any changes in public policy or service delivery. Further research should reveal to what extent
government ‘back offices’ need to be adapted to implement ideas or solutions that arise from online dialogic
The research leading to these results is developed in the context of the SmartGov Project (Advanced decision
support for Smart Governance). It has received funding from the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) Urban
Europe, i.e. the program ERA-NET Cofund Smart Cities and Communities (ENSCC), under the European Union’s
Horizon 2020 Program.
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... As a result, citizens are more receptive rather than conscious producers of information, data, ideas, solutions, and decisions in the context of public policies. The Falco and Kleinhans [14] study indicated that government agencies need more requirements that help provide dialogue governance and identify requirements for the purposeful application of social media. The Falco and Kleinhans [14] study pointed to three ways to increase the level of acceptance and trust in communication platforms from a government perspective: redefining the classification of the relationship between citizens and government based on social media. ...
... The Falco and Kleinhans [14] study indicated that government agencies need more requirements that help provide dialogue governance and identify requirements for the purposeful application of social media. The Falco and Kleinhans [14] study pointed to three ways to increase the level of acceptance and trust in communication platforms from a government perspective: redefining the classification of the relationship between citizens and government based on social media. Clarify the difference between challenges and risks related to government implementation of social media and define the classification of government challenges, and defining government require-ments as an indispensable condition for overcoming these challenges in advance. ...
... The transfer of competition in the information industry and the speed of technological changes will help to increase the level and value of competition broadly [14]. Therefore, the importance of this study lies in increasing the value of competition by developing a conception of the acceptable privacy in social media applications and how to protect it, work on developing it, and expanding it to provide an appropriate and safe environment for the various use segment in social media applications [12]. ...
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Social media represent one of the primary outcome of the digital economy revolution. It represents the fundamental aspects for communication between individuals by using the systems that helps to facilitate the lifestyle of developed societies. In contrast, with the spread of the Corona pandemic, which prompted societies and companies alike to take advantage of social communication technologies to fill the gap that occurs as a result of precautionary measures taken by many countries to limit the spread of infection. However, many users believes that their data and information in their device become accessible by these applications, which threatens the of trust and privacy significantly for these applications. Thus, it might affects the dealing of user and these applications. Therefore, the study’s question is what the basic requirements that should be provided at last to be available in social media applications to increase the level of acceptance for the users. A quantitative sample is collected from different ages and educational levels from Saudi Arabia to design the integrated approach that helps to increase the level of trust and use of social media applications appropriately for the individual and organizational level. This study is considered a way to increase the use of social applications, which represent one of the most key features of digital transformation that can be lead the contemporary digital economy.
... This increased importance explains the long list of contributions evaluating Local E-Government websites in many countries (see, namely, Australia: Sterrenberg, 2017;Canada: Reddick, 2012; Europe: Perez-Morote et al, 2020; India: Kumar & Sareen, 2012;Japan: Wong et al, 2011;Jordan: Alomari et al, 2012;Macao (RPC) : Lai & Pires, 2010;Malaysia: Wong et al, 2011;New Zealand: Asgarkhani, 2005; PRC: Jun et al, 2014; South Africa: Kaisara & Pather, 2011;South Korea: Kim & Lee, 2012;Spain: Cegarra-Navarro et al, 2012;Sri-Lanka: Deng et al, 2011;Turkey: Karkin & Janssen, 2014;UK: Carter et al, 2016;USA: Carbo & Williams, 2004;etc.) but they tend to focus either : a) on the website features (see, e.g., Falco & Kleinhans, 2018) including a long list of features without any hierarchical structure (see, Sa et al, 2016) or b) on the organizational aspects of E-Local Government including models of quality of service (see Asgarkhani, 2005;Lee & Kim, 2014& Muthu et al, 2016. ...
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Any strategy to improve local public administration gives paramount importance to the development of electronic administration (E-Local Government) to facilitate interaction with citizens promoting efficiency, local participation, and sustainable development. This explains the numerous contributions to evaluating websites of local authorities, but they do not focus on modeling the citizen satisfaction induced by their use. This is why three research questions are addressed by this paper: how can such satisfaction be modeled, which attributes be considered and described and how to assess the relative importance assigned by citizens to each attribute? The level of satisfaction is found to depend on the easiness of use of each site and of the available functionalities to share information, to provide services, and to promote participation. A model based on the Multiattribute Theory and using the OptionCards method is developed to estimate the relative importance assigned by each citizen to each attribute and it is successfully applied to a focus group. The answers presented by the authors to these questions are applied to a sample of Portuguese websites allowing their benchmarking and the identification of a road map for im-provement. This instrument is applied to a set of Portuguese municipalities revealing a high level of disparity and confirming how important can be its application to assess inter-municipalities benchmarking, to diagnose their LGS major shortcomings and to support the design of a road map for improvement.
... Besides, previous literature unveiled some obstacles to social media adoption as an instrument for governmental communication. Thus, cultural factors, reputations, digital divides, and data management concerns are all potential obstructions to the adoption and usage of decision-making processes in public institutions (Falco and Kleinhans, 2018). ...
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The present study is one of the few studies that examine the social media communication of the Romanian governmental institutions from a systematic perspective accounting for three categories of messages that enhance the goals of open governance, transparency, participation, and collaboration. Our research contributes to developing the research methodology in the field, given the methodological tool we used based on previous literature on social media communication of public institutions with relevant elements added from political communication. Moreover, based on content analysis of N = 2,484 Facebook posts, we examined how different social media content generates differences in citizen engagement. Findings showed that the Romanian governmental institutions we analyzed frequently used Facebook posts. However, we observed significant differences between the institutions regarding message types. Our results align with previous research conducted in other Western countries showing that public institutions mostly used social media for impression management and transparent communication and less for participation and collaboration.
... Government communication in this study is conceived in line with Pasquier's (2012) definition of the same, which is "all the activities of public sector institutions and organizations that are aimed at conveying and sharing information, primarily for the purpose of presenting and explaining government decisions and actions, promoting the legitimacy of these interventions, defending recognized values and helping to maintain social bonds". This definition is adopted as against conventional definitions of government communication abstracted as exchange of information between at least two parties or two-way exchange that enables dialogue (McCall, 2011;Aji, & Dewi, 2018;Falco, & Kleinhans, 2018). ...
... Empirical studies have confirmed that public communication styles affect citizen engagement (Agostino, 2013;Agostino & Arnaboldi, 2016;Bonsón et al., 2015). Prior research on SM communication suggests that public sector organizations primarily use citizen information strategies for transparency purposes (Mergel, 2013, such as to publish information on updates and guidelines (Chen et al., 2020;Falco & Kleinhans, 2018;Mergel, 2013;Neely & Collins, 2018). During a crisis, frequent messages can be simple news about statistics or updates on changes and restrictions (Mansoor, 2021;Tang, Zhang, Xu, & Vo, 2015). ...
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A growing body of research has explored the emergence of new digital forms of public accountability. Studies in this area show how digital technologies are equipped to support more participative information-sharing and provide dialogic tools for interactions with forums. However, no research has yet examined how to engage forums and enable web-based accountability relationships. We address this gap by highlighting the need to adapt social media communication strategies for topic-specific discussions. Our analysis builds on a database containing 25,485 posts extracted from social media platforms used by 13 Polish municipalities and focuses on two different matters of discussion: posts related to public health during the COVID-19 pandemic and non-COVID-19 related posts. Moreover, during the analysis, we consider two social media communication strategies: passive and participatory. Our findings indicate that both communication strategies can generate forum engagement, which subsequently supports web-based accountability. They also demonstrate that, to support forum engagement, municipalities should avoid one-style-fits-all approaches to communication and instead tailor strategies to the specific subject of discussion. This study contributes to expanding academic debates on web-based accountability by illustrating how the use of social media communication strategies can help engage citizens in public forums to enhance accountability relationships.
... The use of social media in all spheres of government has become a global phenomenon. Falco and Kleinhans (2018) contend that social media facilitate twoway communication among employees in government departments. Furthermore, social media enables two-way communication with organisational publics, stakeholders, and partners. ...
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Contemporary organisations have embraced a wide variety of social media platforms. Social media provide companies, institutions and government departments with the quickest way to communicate with employees. The platforms allow for instantaneous, two-way and cost-effective communication. This paper uses Grunig’s two-way symmetrical as a lens to understand the challenges associated with the use of social media for internal communication within local government in South Africa. Quantitative data was collected through questionnaires, while qualitative data was gathered using interviews. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the findings. Four categories of challenges emerged from the data analysed: lack of social media policies, compliance and adherence with the policy, and lack of organisational support. The absence of social media policy proved to be a significant factor that leads to the ineffective use of social media for internal communication. Municipalities with social media policies had few employees who knew about the policy, whereas the remainder failed to adhere to the policy. Lack of organisational support emerged as a challenge that hampers the use of social media for internal communication in local government. This paper contends that while the use of social media has increased significantly in municipalities, significant challenges associated with the management of social media need to be addressed if the Government Communication Policy is to be implemented effectively. Received: 02 March 2023 / Accepted: 14 May 2023 / Published: 5 July 2023
... Sharing messages, information, comments and criticisms makes this type of media superior (Çağlar & Köklü, 2017). In order for social media to be social, there must be two-way communication between the communities, including the sharing, feedback and criticism of the people in the target audience (Falco & Kleinhans, 2018). ...
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PREFACE The digital movement is increasingly affecting every aspect of life. This change, which affects all fields of science, has also had an impact on marketing science. Today, marketing emerges as a philosophy that the consumer is king, the sole purpose of the existence of the business is to serve the consumer, and all commercial activities begin with the determination of the wishes and desires of the consumers and end with the fastest and most effective way of meeting these wishes and desires. Especially in digital transformation processes, researches in the field of marketing are gaining more and more importance every day. In the increasingly competitive environment over the global world, it is inevitable for businesses that want to interact with their target audiences to create their marketing strategies in the light of the new marketing philosophy. Businesses that follow the developments in the field of marketing and apply them in their own marketing activities will gain a competitive advantage. It is necessary to understand today's marketing techniques correctly and to use techniques that are compatible with the target audience. In this book, different and current marketing techniques have been written in detail by academicians. It is foreseen that it will be useful for readers who want to have information about marketing techniques and will contribute to the literature. We sincerely thank the authors for their devoted and meticulous work in the publication of this book. In addition, we would like to express our gratitude to the staff of Efe Academy Publishing House for their understanding and assistance in this process. Assoc. Prof. Dr. İnci ERDOĞAN TARAKÇI Asst. Prof. Dr. Ramazan ASLAN
... This may attribute to that government agencies are still confused about how to respond to online public opinion in practice, and citizens' voices on government social media may not be truly representative of everyone from the same community owing to potential manipulation of social media algorithms (Lovari & Bowen, 2020). Besides, such voices may have potential problems in accuracy, authenticity, and representativeness (Falco & Kleinhans, 2018;Lovari & Bowen, 2020). In addition, the number of people who interact with government social media remains limited (Lovari & Valentini, 2020). ...
Although some scholars have explored the level and determinants of Dialogic Communication on Government Social Media (DCGSM), none have conducted their studies in the context of public crisis. The current study contributes to the understanding on DCGSM by 16,822 posts crawled from the official Sina Weibo accounts of 104 Chinese health commissions in prefecture-level cities during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Results show that Chinese local government agencies have great variations in their DCGSM during the pandemic and the overall performance is poor. Furthermore, Chinese local governments prefer to conserve visitors and generate return visits, rather than dialogic loops development and the usefulness of information enhancement. The findings suggest that both public pressure and peer pressure contribute to the DCGSM of Chinese local governments during the public health crisis. In addition, the effect of public pressure is stronger than that of the peer pressure, indicating that local government agencies have experienced more demand-pull DCGSM.
Given the various benefits of social media for governments, municipalities are increasingly attempting to institutionalize their use of social media. This article looks at the use of middleware that is observed on municipal Twitter accounts in Dutch municipalities in 2018 and 2021 (N= 724), which provide a set of APIs that specify input and output modalities. It is observed that the use of subscription-based customer relationship management (CRM) tools, developed mostly in a corporate context, has grown considerably, with an uptake of 89.0% of Dutch municipalities in 2021, whereas the use of free CRM tools appears to be declining. Middleware were studied and linked to three models of social media institutionalization (informal experimentation, centralization, and distribution). Municipalities in the informal experimentation model were observed to have smaller population sizes and generally had fewer IT professionals in their constituencies. Larger municipalities with more IT professionals were mostly observed to have a centralized model of institutionalization. Although municipalities with a distributed institutionalization model were larger, they were generally less urbanized. Finally, more technologically advanced municipalities were only observed to make more use of the distributed model.
We report the results of a survey of 167 responses from managerial/senior-level staff to an open-ended question about the challenges of using social media (SM) in project management (PM). The results show that such challenges stem from three aspects: 1) external; 2) internal; and 3) a combination of internal/external to the project organization. While prior findings have shown some concerns about using SM, we not only provide novel insights about three distinct sets of challenges but also reveal that the nature of internal and external challenges may be similar at times. The distinction between their sources must be understood to overcome them. Academically, the study advances the literature on information management by providing a more nuanced classification of SM-related challenges specific to projects and discussing their effects. The study also develops six theoretical propositions for empirical testing. The findings will aid managers in developing strategies for leveraging SM for PM.
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With the emergence of Web 2.0 technology, governments are able to deliver quality services and fully satisfy the needs of their citizens. Despite the importance of this emerging trend, identifying and attracting an audience for government-affiliated social media (SM) services has proved to be a significant challenge. The figures for public participation in government2.0 remain below expectations. This paper is one of the few attempts to identify those factors affecting citizens' decisions to use SM platforms as a means for communication with their government. To develop a new model of SM adoption, this research study is based on a literature review, and will extend the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) model by integrating cultural factors identified by the Hofstede model (masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, power distance and collectivism) and factors related to the trust and motivational model. This paper has created a comprehensive taxonomy of those factors that influence the adoption of SM among citizens, while providing a list of hypotheses for evaluating the significance of these factors.
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This meta-analytic study reviews empirical research published from 2007 to 2013 with an aim of providing robust conclusions about the relationship between social media use and citizen engagement. It includes 22 studies that used self-reported measures of social media use and participation, with a total of 116 relationships/effects. The results suggest that social media use generally has a positive relationship with engagement and its three sub-categories, that is, social capital, civic engagement, and political participation. More specifically, we find small-to-medium size positive relationships between expressive, informational, and relational uses of social media and the above indicators of citizen engagement. For identity- and entertainment-oriented uses of social media, our analyses find little evidence supporting their relationship with citizen engagement.
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This editorial explores the potential of social media and mobile technologies to foster citizen engagement and participation in urban planning. We argue that there is a lot of wishful thinking, but little empirically validated knowledge in this emerging field of study. We outline key developments and pay attention to larger societal and political trends. The aim of this special issue is: 1) To offer a critical state-of-the-art overview of empirical research; and 2) to explore whether social media and mobile technologies have measurable effects on citizens' engagement beyond traditional mobilization and participation tools. We find that wider engagement only ‘materializes’ if virtual connections also manifest themselves in real space through concrete actions, by using both online and offline engagement tools. Another requirement is that planners do not seek to marginalize dissenting voices in order to promote the interests of powerful developers.
Although still young, social media platforms (SM) have already attracted over a quarter of the world's population rendering SM very attractive for organizations. SM adoption presents challenges that may prevent organizations from capitalizing on them to improve performance; thus indicating a need to analyze critical challenges, before taking relevant initiatives. This article identifies 13 most critical challenges associated with the adoption of SM. First a framework is derived from a systematic review of challenges associated with the adoption of SM for HR management (HRM) in three major research databases: ABI/INFORM Complete, Business Source Complete and Web of Science. Second the framework is used in a Delphi survey of 28 Canadian human resources (HR) managers. Statistical analysis includes Cohen Kappa, Kendall's W, Wilcoxon rank test, and cluster analysis. This paper contributes to HRM and Information Systems (IS) research literature on SM adoption in general and provides specific insights to practitioners.
Traditional urban planning has progressed greatly thanks to developments in technology. Such technological advancements have created a new form of urban planning referred to as e-planning, which incorporates the traditional elements of urban planning with information communication technologies. Although progressing rapidly into the professional world, research on the use of ICTs in urban planning remains very minimal. The Handbook of Research on E-Planning: ICTs for Urban Development and Monitoring provides relevant theoretical perspectives on the use of ICT in urban planning as well as an account of the most recent developments in the practice of e-planning in different regions of the world. Discussing theories and methods, citizen participation, and innovation in urban management in e-planning, this book is essential for those who want to improve their knowledge about the use of ICT in urban planning, focusing greatly on its strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.
The public sector is increasingly turning to social media as a means to communicate and interact with citizens, but little is known about the contribution that these social technologies make to public engagement. This paper used a scoping literature review of studies examining social media in order to develop a framework that measures two Facebook features (popularity and commitment), which was then used to evaluate two different levels of public engagement (public communication and public participation). The framework was validated by applying it to the Facebook pages of several Italian city administrations, and a social media engagement matrix was proposed to interpret the findings.