Social media institutionalization in the U.S. federal government

Ines Mergel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Social media adoption changes the existing organizational technology paradigm of public sector organizations. This paper explains the internal decisions that are necessary before new technologies can be used to support the strategic mission of a government organization and which behavioral and technological changes are integrated into the organization's standard operating procedures. This is an important theoretical contribution, because social media technologies are developed and hosted by third parties outside of government, with government's role limited to reactively evaluating their internal needs, strategic alignment, and existing routines. Evidence from qualitative interviews with social media directors in the U.S. federal government and a digital ethnography of their online practices expand the existing theory of social media adoption by adding two distinct activities: strategic alignment and routinization which lead to the institutionalization of new technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-148
Number of pages7
JournalGovernment Information Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Institutionalization
  • New technology adoption
  • Social media
  • U.S. federal government

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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