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A framework for advanced social media exploitation in government for crowdsourcing

Lefkothea Spiliotopoulou (Department of Information and Communication Systems Engineering, University of the Aegean, Samos, Greece)
Yannis Charalabidis (Department of Information and Communication Systems Engineering, University of the Aegean, Samos, Greece)
Euripidis N. Loukis (Department of Information and Communication Systems Engineering, University of the Aegean, Samos, Greece)
Vasiliki Diamantopoulou (Department of Information and Communication Systems Engineering, University of the Aegean, Samos, Greece)

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

ISSN: 1750-6166

Article publication date: 14 October 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to develop and evaluate, in “real-life” pilot applications, a framework for advanced social media exploitation by government agencies in their policy-making processes to promote public participation and conduct crowdsourcing.

Design/methodology/approach

This framework has been developed through cooperation with public sector employees experienced in public policy-making, using both qualitative and quantitative techniques: semi-structured focus group discussions, scenarios development and questionnaire surveys. The evaluation of the framework has been conducted through semi-structured focus group discussions with public sector employees involved in the pilot applications.

Findings

A framework has been developed for advanced social media exploitation by government agencies, which is based on the automated posting of policy-related content to multiple social media, and then retrieval and processing of citizens’ interactions with it (e.g. views, likes, comments and retweets), using the application programming interfaces (API) of these social media. Furthermore, a supporting information and communication technologies (ICT) infrastructure and an application process model for it were developed. Its evaluation, based on “real-life” pilot applications, leads to useful insights concerning its capabilities, strengths and weaknesses.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed framework has been evaluated in a small number of pilot applications, so further evaluation of it is required, in various types of government agencies and for different kinds of policy consultations.

Practical/Implications

The above framework enables government agencies to communicate with wider and more heterogeneous audiences in a short time and at a low cost, increase public participation in their policy-making processes, collect useful knowledge, ideas and opinions from citizens and, finally, design better, more socially rooted, balanced and realistic policies.

Originality/value

This research contributes to the development of knowledge concerning advanced practices for effective social media exploitation in government (which is currently limited, despite the considerable relevant knowledge developed in this area for the private sector), by developing and evaluating a framework for advanced and highly automated exploitation of multiple social media by government agencies. Furthermore, an evaluation methodology for such practices has been developed, which is based on sound theoretical foundations.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The framework presented in this paper has been developed and evaluated within the European research project PADGETS (“Policy Gadgets Mashing Underlying Group Knowledge in Web 2.0 Media” – for more details, see www.padgets.eu/), supported by the “ICT for Governance and Policy Modelling” research initiative of European Commission.

Citation

Spiliotopoulou, L., Charalabidis, Y., N. Loukis, E. and Diamantopoulou, V. (2014), "A framework for advanced social media exploitation in government for crowdsourcing", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 545-568. https://doi.org/10.1108/TG-01-2014-0002

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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