Social Media and Government: The Big(ger) Picture
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Social Media and Government: The Big(ger) Picture



Presented at a Queensland State Government e-participation workshop, Brisbane, 30 Sep. 2009.

Presented at a Queensland State Government e-participation workshop, Brisbane, 30 Sep. 2009.



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    Social Media and Government: The Big(ger) Picture Social Media and Government: The Big(ger) Picture Presentation Transcript

    • Social Media and Government: The Big(ger) Picture Dr Axel Bruns Associate Professor ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation Creative Industries Faculty Queensland University of Technology [email_address] –
    • Social Media
      • Common characteristics:
        • Open participation: self-selecting, self-managing communities
        • Fluid organisation: leaders emerge from the community
        • Ongoing processes: participants compete, improve on each other’s work
        • Common property: shared ownership of community and its outcomes
      • (Image:
    • Success in Social Media Engagement
      • Engaging with social media communities:
        • Be open.
        • For users (access) and with users (transparency).
        • Seed community processes by providing content and tools.
        • Model desired behaviour, assist productive participation.
        • Support community dynamics and devolve responsibilities.
        • Engage promising community leaders as they emerge.
        • Don’t exploit the community and its work.
        • Drawing on their ideas is fine, but respect and acknowledge users.
      • (Adapted from Bruns & Bahnisch. “ Social Media: State of the Art. ” Sydney: Smart Services CRC, 2009.)
    • (
    • What Platforms?
      • Use existing platforms?
        • Potential to tap into established communities
        • Better word-of-mouth opportunities
        • Faster deployment possible
        • Users reassured by trusted third-party platform provider
        • But: loss of message / moderation control
      • Build your own?
        • Longer development, but better feature / community control
        • Need for staff to seed and spruik community process
        • ‘ Build it and they will come’ not guaranteed
        • Potential user mistrust of government as platform provider
        • But: no need to rely on third-party provider
      • Need to combine both in most cases:
        • – e.g. own site for core information and specialist functionality, mainstream social media site for community engagement and word of mouth
        • – Provide framework and tools for users to build their own: e.g. – offering government data for user mash-ups
    • What Communities?
      • Individuals, community?
        • Participation in social media often motivated by peers:
          • Viral word-of-mouth from friends
          • Implicit or explicit competition for best contributions
          • Friendly peer pressure to join the community
          •  From individual to communal ownership
      • What kind of community?
        • Broad-based, inclusive:
          • Widespread take-up difficult to achieve
          • Diverse communities harder to (self-) manage
          • But: more diversity of voices, more democratic model
        • Specialist, selective:
          • Possibility to tap into existing groups
          • Users more committed and constructive
          • But: potentially elitist and exclusive model
    • (Archived version of first DBCDE blog post,
    • (Excerpt from comments to first DBCDE blog post, archived at
    • What relationships?
      • Different models:
        • g2g:
          • Internal services integration
          • Unified Web portal
          • Cost savings
          • Not necessarily desired by users
        • g2c:
          • Better services delivery
          • Use of new communication technologies (Web, mobile)
          • One-on-one relationship with users
        • c2c (or, g4c2c ):
          • Government provision of community platforms
          • Creating self-managing communities
          • Devolving responsibility to users
          • Cost savings, greater community resilience
    • What Initiatives?
      • Wide range of e-Government, e-Democracy ideas:
        • Need to clearly articulate government and project aims
        • Need to identify likely areas for early initiatives
        • Best to start with manageable areas:
          • Specific topics, specific communities
          • Limited geographic focus at first?
          • Work with existing online communities?
        • Survey projects and tools being developed elsewhere:
          • Government 2.0 Task Force
          • service to share best practice in e-government
          • e-Democracy (EDEM) conference series, and Centre for e-Government
          • Council of Europe recommendations on e-democracy (with comprehensive list of e-democracy tools ) and Forum for the Future of Democracy
          • Modern Democracy magazine ’s e-democracy roadmap
      •  Where do we want to go from here?
    • (From Modern Democracy 1 (2009), pp. 8-9, )