Social Media and the New Organization of Government Communications: An Empirical Analysis of Twitter Usage by the Dutch Police

Albert Jacob Meijer, René Torenvlied

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    65 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Do social media de-bureaucratize the organization of government communications? Key features of the bureaucratic ideal-type are centralized and formalized external communications and disconnection of internal and external communications. Some authors argue that this organizational model is being replaced by a less bureaucratic model that better fits the communication demands of the information society. To explore this argument empirically, the use of twitter by Dutch police departments is investigated through an analysis of 982 accounts and 22 interviews. The empirical analysis shows that most twitter communication takes place through decentralized channels. While a minority of police officers use personal names on twitter, most use their formal identity. Twitter is mostly used for external communication but the mutual interest in the twitter communications of other police officers is substantial. The study nuances the idea of transformative change: the old bureaucratic and the new models manifest themselves in the hybrid organization of social media communications
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)143-161
    JournalAmerican review of public administration
    Volume46
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2014

    Keywords

    • Social media
    • Police
    • (Post) bureaucracy

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