LocalGovernmentandSocial Networking Technologies in Germany: The ExampleofTwitterPeter Mambrey, Romy DörrUniversity of Duisburg-Essen Paper presentedatthe Conference ForeDemocracyAnd Open Government , Krems, Austria 2011
Context My places of research Fraunhofer FIT; University of Duisburg-Essen; International Institute for Socio-Informatic IISI e.V. Research interests Human centered system design: ICT and media to foster democratization Technology and society: Utopia and dystopia as a Janus Head Social practices and appropriation: Malleable; actively shaping it Research domain Political institutions on federal, state and local level and relations to the citizens Disciplinary perspectives TA; OTD; Political use of ICT and media; political communication
Introduction Media expansion and rising media awareness and use Options for political participation and self empowerment Local administration and government challenges Rising demands in participation and legitimization Rising expectations about quantity and quality of service delivery Rising demands for local expertise Competition between cities (citizens and enterprises) Demographical factor Financial crisis EGovernment as problem solver?
Research Questions ICT and media use and appropriation on local level. What is going on? General Questions are: Transparency and input-legitimacy (Luhmann) Dialogue and output-legitimacy (Scharpf) Collaboration and participation (Macintosh) Identity management and Public Relations (Mummendey) Erosion of the representative system and lobbying Using an empirical, descriptive approach, what can we detect on local level? From CityWikis in Germany to Twitter.
Local media: Analyzing the DuisburgTwitter Methodological Approach Case studies based on empirical research Descriptions, rich pictures, exploring the local sphere Problems: generalization; subjective factors; dynamics etc. Analysis of all tweets (N= 792) of the official account of Duisburg from May 26, 2009 until Oct. 31, 2009 Analysis framework – category scheme / MSExcel - Two analyzers
Definitions Web 2.0 Social Media / Social Networking technologies aim at Connecting people electronically (technological perspective) Creating mutual awareness (social perspective) Creating mutual activities (political perspective) Twitter „A real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting and compelling“ Privately owned and initiated (2006) 175 Mio. users 2010 WAYD – appropriation process since then
The case study: Twitter in Duisburg The governments’ use of social media The city of Duisburg New media formats in Duisburg (2009)
Results The locality of the tweets is the leading criteria Topics addressed: Omissions
Results ctd. Internal cross-linking between new media formats creates redundancy , fosters awareness and frames a media arena The origin of tweets and links Followers of the Duisburg Twitter Locations of the followers
Results ctd. Steady growth but a niche phenomenon Mirroring and creating news by professionals not users Reports on daily unspectacular local events nearly in real-time The genre: Infotainment and not dialogue/deliberation/participation Virtual re-presentation of the local by different media formats creating publicity beyond traditional media Development of a local information and communication arena with high redundancy framing a positive, bright picture of the city
Future Research Questions Do these new formats substitute, add or change the existing local media arena? What role does such a local media arena play for agenda setting, framing, provision of awareness and transparency in local politics and social life? How can this foster open government and local democracy? Do these new social networking media under the umbrella of a city government need specific requirements concerning the correctness, reliability, and responsibility? Do such media applications under the umbrella of public authorities require a cohesive political steering and democratic control by the public?
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