Social media adoption and resulting tactics in the U.S. federal government

Ines Mergel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

241 Scopus citations

Abstract

In 2009, the departments in the executive branch of the U.S. federal government received the presidential marching order to "harness new technologies" in order to become more transparent, collaborative and participatory. Given this mandate, this article sets out to provide insights from qualitative interviews with social media directors to understand the factors that influence internal adoption decisions to use social media applications, such as Facebook, Twitter, or blogs. Three distinct factors influence the adoption decisions of social media directors: information about best practices in their informal network of peers, passive observations of perceived best practices in the public and private sector, and "market-driven" citizen behavior. The resulting adoption tactics include: (1) representation, (2) engagement, and (3) networking. The findings point to the need for higher degrees of formalized knowledge sharing when it comes to disruptive technology innovations such as social media use in highly bureaucratic communication environments. Recommendations based on the lessons learned are provided for practitioners and social media researchers to develop social media tactics for different organizational purposes in government.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-130
Number of pages8
JournalGovernment Information Quarterly
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013

Keywords

  • Diffusion of innovation
  • Qualitative network analysis
  • Social media adoption
  • Technology adoption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law

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