Old Blunders in New Media? How Local Governments Communicate with Citizens in Online Social Networks
Hofmann Sara, Räckers Michael, Beverungen Daniel, Becker Jörg
Social media hold abundant opportunities for service providers to interact with their clients. Whereas social media as sales channels have been studied extensively in the Marketing literature, much less is known about the ways in which public sector organisations capitalize on this potential. The purpose of this study is to explore how local governments utilize online social networks as a means for external communication. In a content analysis approach, we analyse 2,522 postings on the Facebook profiles of three out of the ten largest cities in Germany. The analysis is mainly based on a coding scheme that was derived both from literature as well as from interviews with experts, and complemented with a quantitative analysis of the Facebook profiles of the 25 largest German cities. We find that public administrations hardly make use of the opportunities these new media offer, yet.