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Social media as micro-encounters: Millennial preferences as moderators of digital public value creation

Staci M. Zavattaro (School of Public Administration, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA)
Lori A. Brainard (George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 15 March 2019

Issue publication date: 12 August 2019




The purpose of this paper is to introduce a framework for understanding how millennial social media use preferences can help public administrators change their delivery ethos to foster meaningful micro-encounters in digital spaces to then create public value. Ideally, these micro-encounters encourage public values creation from both the user (government) and audience side. Traditional government social media use often is one-way push without much care for dialogue and discussion. This revised framework shifts that thinking from the social media creation phase, allowing public administrators to use the tools in a more creative way.


The approach to the paper is theoretical, meaning the theoretical framework brings together lines of scholarship that have previously run parallel: millennial social media use preferences, government social media, and public values creation.


The theoretical framework offers propositions for future inquiry. The framework shows how traditional public sector social media use fails when it comes to creating meaningful spaces for interaction, which ideally is the purpose of social media.

Practical implications

The framework offered herein can help practitioners change the way they set up and even currently use social media tools to engage with the public. Though the framework is based on millennial social media preferences, any generation can benefit from a more open, inclusive platform that strives to foster public values such as collaboration, dialogue and transparency.


The theoretical framework generated for this paper brings together usually separate literatures to create a more holistic picture of social media use for public administrators.



Zavattaro, S.M. and Brainard, L.A. (2019), "Social media as micro-encounters: Millennial preferences as moderators of digital public value creation", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 32 No. 5, pp. 562-580.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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