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The logic of public organizations' social media use: toward a theory of 'social mediatization'
Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), CRISMART (National Center for Crisis Management Research and Training).
Örebro universitet.
2016 (English)In: Public Relations Inquiry, ISSN 2046-147X, Vol. 5, no 2, 187-204 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The study aims to explore government agencies’ social media use. Inspired by the notion of mediatization, we ask whether it is possible to find traces of a corresponding emerging social media logic with the propensity to challenge established organizational practices and processes. In doing so, we use a modified framework originally developed by Van Dijck and Poell which identifies key three characteristics of social media logics: programmability, popularity, and connectivity. We conducted a qualitative interview study using an abductive and hermeneutist-inspired methodology. The empirical material consists of 21 interviews with representatives of Swedish government agencies. The findings reveal patterns across the organizations studied which can be understood as an emerging social media logic. Regarding connectivity, the social media logic causes agencies to spend resources on channels that engage relatively few people who are already favorably disposed toward the agency, despite government agencies’ obligation to communicate with citizens at large. Programmability refers to agencies’ increased communicative and image-building power. Finally, popularity leads agencies to engage in more personalized communication, which includes exposure of individual employees as well as use of informal communicative styles. Taken together, these categories have important ramifications which risk jeopardizing agencies’ legal and normative foundations

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 5, no 2, 187-204 p.
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Statsvetenskap med inriktning mot krishantering och internationell samverkan
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-6401DOI: 10.1177/2046147X16654454OAI: diva2:1057645
Available from: 2016-12-19 Created: 2016-12-19 Last updated: 2017-01-16Bibliographically approved

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Olsson, Eva-Karin
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