The past twenty years have marked a period of unparalleled technological advancements led by the internet. The increasing influence of the internet has changed the backdrop of ways that society members access information and intermingle with one another. The advancement of technology associated with the internet has led to sociable digital innovations referred to as social media. Social media refers to internet and mobile-based applications that make it possible for individuals and organizations to develop, engage and exchange interactive discourse. Social media can be categorized into 3 different types, which include blogs and microblogs (e.g. twitter), social networking sites (e.g. Facebook), and content communities (e.g. YouTube). Interestingly, social media has revolutionized the public management of information system as it is increasingly becoming a famous platform for it.
How social media is influencing the public management of information systems
Social media and collaborative technologies are becoming vital elements of emergency preparedness, response and recovery (Werner, 2011). Government officials, local authorities as well as national governments are increasingly turning to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to share information and to keep citizens informed all through all stages of crises. However, setting up these technologies requires responding agencies to bring up to date their communication approaches and engagement techniques. As such, after identifying the need to tackle these challenges the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) has set up a social media platform referred to as the Virtual Social Media Working Group (VSMWG) (Werner, 2011). This platform makes it possible for members of this group to interface with their workmates and other subject issue professionals in public and private segments about ordinary first-responder matters regarding the utilization of social media tools (for instance, security, confidentiality, training and legitimacy) (Werner, 2011).
Social media is making it possible for medical professionals to communicate with patients in a manner they never could previously. Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook are no longer just platforms used by college students and adolescents. Having over 800 million users Facebook has turned out to become a worldwide website, and as such, it is a powerful tool that healthcare organizations use to promote their services (Waxer et al., 2013). A good example is the UCLA Health System, which has its own page named “UCLA Health System” to link with the community. This platform has served to create interest in the platform, and more and more people are performing easy searches and in one click identifying the page they are searching for (Waxer et al., 2013). Therefore, with the help of social media, UCLA Health system has been able and continues to share information with huge audiences. Health professionals are also leveraging the usage of blogs. Medical writers and reporters are utilizing the internet more regularly for expert insights and opinions (Waxer et al., 2013). By developing and maintain a blog of good quality, these professionals are positioning themselves at the forefront of their field and reaching out to several people with whom they would have never had the chance to intermingle with.
Government agencies are utilizing social media as a form of public outreach. They utilize platforms like Twitter and Facebook to make invitations (to citizens) to upcoming meetings about matters and events that affect them, like closing of highways and roads for public projects, concerns about the environment, preparations for sudden natural disasters, public health concerns, encompassing outbreaks of diseases. By adopting the use of social media to relay these communications, public administrators are able to reach more nationals in a more rapid way (Anthes, 2017). This enhanced communication serves to make the public aware of the approaches they can apply to handle these events and facilitates collaboration and synchronization.
The government agencies are also using social media to increase public engagement. Social networking by public administrators augments public participation and wide engagement of citizens in public issues. As such, the public is better informed and kept updated on details about policy queries, motivating more communities to act and influence government offices to be keen on accountability. Social media platforms have provided citizens a new kind of check and balances, in which the public is able to inform and interact with public staff on neighborhood issues. Social networking also allows policy makers to engage in discussions with the public, influencing more citizens to speak out on matters that affect them and provide suggestions for solving problems that affect them.
Social media allows government agencies to share public reports making them easily accessible to citizens. Information can be shared easily and swiftly on social media. Public administrators have been for a long time been involved in the management of public records and information. The introduction of the internet, i.e., social media platforms has made it possible to these administrators to make public documents like health statistics, legislation and regulations and environmental matters far simpler to find, not mentioning the added advantage of addressing matters of public transparency and accountability. The consequence has been an increase in more available government data, which has in turn resulted in an increase in the inclusion of ideas from communities who may not have much direct experience with public agencies. In a nutshell, social media provides open reporting, and in the process, the general public is able to get better comprehension of the work of public agencies and the resources they readily avail.
Social networking stimulates participatory practices among campus students and influences political socialization. The interactive and cooperative nature of Twitter, Facebook and Youtube is vital to the development of political beliefs and practices among the youth (Loader et al., 2015). In this age where digital communications are ever present, attention in the recent years has mainly focused on social media’s potential role for impacting the political beliefs and civic engagement of the youth. Importantly, social media plays an important role in student politics. “Young people are the leaders of tomorrow” is a common adage, and as such, campus students are the future leaders and some will in a few years join public service. Therefore, the way they currently interact with social media will greatly influence how they use those platforms once they become public administrators. Student politicians usually use social networking sites to communicate their ideas, and to amass followers (Loader et al., 2015). Notably, the political field itself has become considerably influenced by social media with Twitter, Facebook and Youtube postings prompting news coverage and becoming a routine characteristic of discussions with famous people and politicians tweeting their most recent replies and thoughts (Loader et al., 2015). As such, the effective utilization of social media networks may considerably influence the amassing of social and cultural capitals and act to mold the students’ political habitus.
Social media and E-govenment and government ethical issues
Social media has become one of the main components of e-government. E-government is basically a situation where a government utilizes information and communication technologies to provide for businesses and citizens the chance to intermingle and carry out business with the government by utilizing various electronic media like smartcards, internet, telephone touch pad etc. Social media is impacting the way governments are engaging in business and how they are performing. Governments are increasingly interacting and reaching citizens where they are and where they feel most comfortable. They are using these platforms to become active users of such sites via the provision of prompt, constant and most recent information and also via building this new interactive permanent relationship with citizens and businesses. Utilizing e-participation allows for the reorganization of power to citizens who are not normally part of policy making and government decisions, and are usually not involved in the economic and political processes. Collecting consent from citizens and their effective execution is an indication that the government is responsive to public interests.
Social networks also play an important role in stabilizing the trust that the citizens have in the government. To trust activities that relate to e-government, there is the need for citizens to have developed trust in the government itself. Social media serves to create this trust. According to Porumbescu (2016), the utilization of public sector social media accounts has the tendency of creating satisfaction among citizens and hence public sector trustworthiness. Also for e-government to be successfully implemented there is the need for citizens to highly trust the internet and the government (Shah and Lim, 2011). Therefore, the researchers recommend improving openness on government websites to get the trust of citizens. Song and Lee (2015) also put emphasis on the need for governments to exercise transparency in the utilization of e-government as it will enhance trust in the services offered.
Social media platforms also serve to open doors for the public to become more active and influential in the environment they live in. In regards to e-participation, social media offers new communication ways via which governments can provide any news or messages they want more rapidly and efficiently. The public can take part in online dialogues on public matters with their local or national governments which will result in more open, clear and interactive relationship between nationals and their governments (Shah and Lim, 2011). To promote high levels of ethics, governments usually invest in managing these sites, and this is mainly achieved by the “Four R” approach. The review is the first R and it entails on monitoring what the citizens are saying online, respond is the second R and it focuses on ensuring that the social media platform is an active communication channel, record is the third R and it involves posting high quality content. Redirect is the last R and it enables citizens to benefit. This strategy serves to enhance the government’s impact on its citizens, as well as promotes ethics.
Indeed social media plays a significant role in influencing the public management of information systems. For instance, social media has facilitated emergency preparedness, response and recovery, improved communication between patients and healthcare providers, allowed government agencies to engage in public outreach, sharing of public reports, and stimulated participatory practices among campus students and influenced political socialization. Social media has also become an important element of e-government where it has facilitated public participation, and established trust in the government.
Anthes, M. (2017, October 2). Social Media As A Vital Engagement Platform For
Government Outreach. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/10/02/social-media-as-a-vital-engagement-platform-for-government-outreach/#9c002154b29f
Loader, B. D., Vromen, A., Xenos, M. A., Steel, H., & Burgum, S. (2015). Campus politics,
student societies and social media. The Sociological Review, 63(4), 820-839. Doi: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-954X.12220
Shah, B. P., & Lim, N. 2011. Using social media to increase e-government adoption in
developing countries. Paper presented at the ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, 205-213. doi:10.1145/2072069.2072103.
Song, C., & Lee, J. 2015. Citizens use of social media in government, perceived transparency,
and trust in government. Public Performance and Management Review, 39,2, 430-453. doi:10.1080/15309576.2015.1108798.
Porumbescu, G. A. 2016. Linking public sector social media and e-government website
use to trust in government. Government Information Quarterly, 33,2, 291-304.
Waxer, N., Ninan, D., Alfred Ma, M. D., & Dominguez, N. (2013). How cloud computing
and social media are changing the face of health care. Physician executive, 39(2), 58. Doi: https://search.proquest.com/openview/de20ee1a525a3155192f677ac50f9baa/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=36212
Werner, C. (2011). Virtual Collaboration: Communities of Practice. Retrieved from