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Social Media in the Public Sector: A Guide to Participation, Collaboration and Transparency in The Networked World

ISBN: 978-1-118-10994-6
320 pages
October 2012, ©2013, Jossey-Bass
Social Media in the Public Sector: A Guide to Participation, Collaboration and Transparency in The Networked World (1118109945) cover image

Grounded in solid research, Social Media in the Public Sector explores the myriad uses of social media in the public sector and combines existing practices with theories of public administration, networked governance, and information management. Comprehensive in scope, the book includes best practices, the strategic, managerial, administrative, and procedural aspects of using social media, and explains the theoretical dimensions of how social behavior affects the adoption of social media technologies.

Praise for Social Media in the Public Sector

"Mergel has produced a foundational work that combines the best kind of scholarship with shoe-leather reporting and anthropology that highlights the debates that government agencies are struggling to resolve and the fruits of their efforts as they embrace the social media revolution. Social Media in the Public Sector is a first and sets a high standard against which subsequent analysis will be measured."

Lee Rainie, director, Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project

"Mergel is an award-winning author who again wields her story skills in this book. She excels in explaining in concrete, practical terms how government managers can use social media to serve the public. Her book puts years of research into one handy guide. It's practical. It's readable. And it's an essential read."

John M. Kamensky, senior fellow, IBM Center for The Business of Government

"Mergel moves beyond the hype with detailed, comprehensive research on social media technologies, use, management, and policies in government. This book should be required reading for researchers and public managers alike."

Jane Fountain, professor and director, National Center for Digital Government, University of Massachusetts Amherst

"Comprehensive and compelling, Social Media in the Public Sector makes the case that to achieve Government 2.0, agencies must first adopt Web 2.0 social technologies. Mergel explains both how and why in this contemporary study of traditional institutions adopting and adapting to new technologies."

Beth Simone Noveck, United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer (2009-2011)

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Figures and Tables ix

Acknowledgments xv

About the Author xvii

PART ONE: UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR 1

1 Introduction 3

2 Social Media Technologies in the Public Sector 9

3 Drivers for the Use of Social Media in the Public Sector 37

4 Barriers to the Use of Social Media in the Public Sector 54

5 Regulations and Directives for the Use of Social Media in the Public Sector 71

6 Social Media Policy Considerations 89

7 Social Media Metrics 122

PART TWO: SOCIAL MEDIA PRACTICES: PARTICIPATION, COLLABORATION, AND TRANSPARENCY 145

8 Participation 2.0 147

9 Collaboration 2.0 180

10 Transparency 2.0 211

11 Future Development in Social Technologies in Government 232

Appendix: Overview of Social Media Accounts in the U.S. Federal Government 243

Glossary 265

References 271

Index 291

FIGURES AND TABLES

Figures

2.1 Introductory Paragraph of the GAO Report on the U.S. Postal Service 11

2.2 The FBI’s News Blog 17

2.3 The FBI’s Facebook Page 18

2.4 iCommandant: Web Journal of Admiral Thad Allen 22

2.5 The White House YouTube Channel 24

2.6 The YouTube Channel of Congressman Mike Honda, 15th Congressional District, California 24

2.7 Election Night: A Candidate Behind the Scenes 26

2.8 A Typical E-Government Website 28

2.9 Providing Static Content on a Government Website 29

2.10 Social Media Hub of the Department of Defense 30

2.11 Providing for Social Technology Interactions on a Government Website 31

2.12 “Hooray Bloggers!”: A TSA Blog Post 32

2.13 A CrimeReports.com Map 35

3.1 Strong and Weak Ties in a Social Network 41

3.2 Motivations for Using Social Networking Sites 42

3.3 Change in Internet Use by Age, 2000–2010 43

3.4 Trends in Individuals’ Sources of News (by percentage of respondents) 45

3.5 The Long Tail of Social Media Tools 52

4.1 Trust in Government and Views on National Conditions 55

4.2 Networked Government 59

4.3 Decision Making and Implementation in E-Government Projects 63

4.4 Bottom-Up Experimentation with the Use of Social Media Applications 64

4.5 Richness of Interaction for Different Communication Media 69

5.1 Dashboard Evaluating Performance on the Open Government Directive 77

5.2 Twitter Profile for Macon Phillips, White House Director of New Media 78

5.3 Library of Congress Announcement About Twitter Archive 79

5.4 The IT Dashboard 83

5.5 ExpertNet: A Wiki for the Open Government Initiative 84

6.1 Informal Network of Attention Among Social Media Directors in the Federal Government 91

6.2 Organization Chart for the GSA’s Center for Citizen Engagement and New Media 92

6.3 The GSA’s Web Content Site on HowTo.gov 93

6.4 The DOD’s Policy on Responsible Use of Internet Capabilities 96

6.5 LinkedIn for Navy Personnel 97

6.6 Information Clearance Process 98

6.7 The TSA’s Mission Statement 100

6.8 Introduction to the GSA’s Discussion of Its Terms of Service Agreements 102

6.9 The GSA’s Apps.gov 103

6.10 The Importance of a Commenting Policy 105

6.11 The EPA’s Commenting Policy for Facebook 112

6.12 Should I Respond Online on EPA’s Behalf? An Employee Guide 113

6.13 Designing Social Technology Policy and Strategy 114

6.14 An Example of the Push Strategy: A White House Tweet 117

6.15 An Example of the Pull Strategy: A Challenge.gov Tweet 119

7.1 Spot Check of Social Media Impact 125

7.2 The CDC’s Recalled Products Button 128

7.3 Tweeting the Cookie Policy 130

7.4 The FCC’s Experiment with Social Media Use 131

7.5 The FDIC’s Website After Incorporating User Feedback 132

7.6 How Social Media Use May Support an Agency’s Mission 135

7.7 NASA’s Klout Score 137

8.1 How SeeClickFix Works: Flowchart 154

8.2 A SeeClickFix Watch Area Defi ned by a Zip Code 155

8.3 Issues Reported by Zip Code on SeeClickFix 156

8.4 Using the SeeClickFix Issue Reporting Process on Facebook 157

8.5 Using the SeeClickFix Issue Reporting Process on a Mobile Phone 158

8.6 RichmondGov’s Citizens’ Request Page 160

8.7 City of Richmond Issue Statistics from SeeClickFix 161

8.8 2011 SeeClickFix Pricing System 162

8.9 100,000 Issues Reported on SeeClickFix, May 9, 2011 163

8.10 Top-Performing Cities in Citizen Responsiveness 164

8.11 Newspapers as Dissemination Channels: SeeClickFix on the Boston Globe Online 166

8.12 SeeClickFix Access Through an Elected Official’s Website 169

8.13 Harford County’s Innovation Portal 175

9.1 Hierarchical Knowledge Acquisition 183

9.2 Distributed Knowledge Sharing Using a Wiki 184

9.3 Diplopedia 193

9.4 DoDTechipedia 195

9.5 Intellipedia 198

9.6 GCPedia 200

9.7 The CrisisCommons Wiki 203

9.8 WikiplanningTM 204

10.1 Data.gov 213

10.2 Data and Apps 215

10.3 Apps Showcase on Data.gov 216

10.4 The FlyOnTime Application 216

10.5 Health Data Applications 218

10.6 Mobile Apps to Access Government Information 218

10.7 The NASA iPhone App 219

10.8 The Find a Health Center App 220

10.9 Bing Health Maps Merge HHS Data with Geolocation Data 221

10.10 State of Utah’s iPhone and iPad Applications 221

10.11 Using the SeeClickFix Application 222

11.1 A World Bank Data Visualization 236

Tables

2.1 Overview of Differences Between E-Government and Government 2.0 36

5.1 Overview of Guiding Regulations and Directives for the Use of Social Media in the Public Sector 85

7.1 Klout Scores of U.S. Government Twitter Accounts 138

7.2 Measuring Social Media Performance 143

8.1 Types of Public Involvement in Decision Making 152

8.2 Local, State, and Federal Open Innovation Platforms 177

9.1 Prominent Wikis in Government 191

10.1 Public Sector Information Reuse Initiatives 223

A.1 Use of Facebook by Federal Agencies and Departments, 2010–2011 244

A.2 Use of Microblogs by Federal Agencies and Departments, 2010–2011 246

A.3 Use of Web Logs by Federal Agencies and Departments, 2010–2011 248

A.4 Use of YouTube by Federal Agencies and Departments, 2010–2011 250

A.5 Use of Flickr by Federal Agencies and Departments, 2010–2011 252

A.6 Federal Agencies’ and Departments’ Home Pages 253

A.7 Federal Agencies’ and Departments’ YouTube Accounts 255

A.8 Federal Agencies’ and Departments’ Facebook Accounts 256

A.9 Federal Agencies’ and Departments’ MySpace Accounts 258

A.10 Federal Agencies’ and Departments’ Twitter Accounts 259

A.11 Federal Agencies’ and Departments’ Blog Pages 260

A.12 Federal Agencies’ and Departments’ Flickr Accounts 262

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Ines Mergel is assistant professor of public administration at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University.

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November 29, 2012
Social Media in the Public Sector: A Guide to Participation, Collaboration and Transparency in the Networked World

Transparency and open government has been mandated at the federal level and in response there is a surge to implement new media initiatives across all levels of government. While public managers know how to use new media applications in their private lives, many of them need guidance on how to define policies and measure impact in the traditionally strict and rules based public environment.

Social Media in the Public Sector: A Guide to Participation, Collaboration and Transparency in the Networked World (Jossey-Bass; 978-1-118-10994-6; November 2012) by Ines Mergel is an easy-to-read guide to the development of a successful social media presence for government organizations. Stocked with real-life examples and case studies, the book explores myriad social media tools and provides step-by-step guidance on how to implement them based on mission, goals, and strategy. Written in a jargon-free and accessible style, the book is a go-to resource for anyone in government who wants to put the power of social media to work for their organization.

Each chapter in Social Media in the Public Sector starts with a review of the current state of the public administration literature and how government 2.0 activities can potentially challenge or change the existing paradigms. This is followed by an overview of each of the tools used to increase participation, transparency and collaboration. At the end of each chapter, recommendations for implementation processes are summarized. 

The authors are long-time social media practitioners with strong career ties to the public sector. Ines Mergel is assistant professor of public administration at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University. Bill Greeves is the chief information officer for Wake County, North Carolina and has over 12 years of experience in government technology leadership.

Social Media in the Public Sector is ideal for MBA, public affair and international affair programs as well as practitioners actively implementing social media applications in their agencies and departments.

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