I took a look at the study titled “Twitter in Local Government: a Study of Greater London Authorities.”
The study looked at LA (local authorities) in the London area and their use of Twitter. The paper began by saying that government officials using Twitter is growing, and it may be of some importance. After all, Obama has over 10 million followers on Twitter… That’s gotta be changing society in some way, shape, or form! Important context in which Twitter has been used in regards to the authoritative sector is campaigns, deliberation and information sharing of governmental authorities. Some of the most important repercussions of this Twitter use is seen in the increased transparency, openness, and interactivity between public sector and the private individual.
The study analyzed 29 accounts of local authorities with variations such as the number of followers, their personal methods of use, and the extent to which they personally communicate with others. It also compared the types of relationships that developed and the popularity of the authorities using Twitter in relation to the mechanics of use.
They found that politicians devoted limited attention on the conversational elements of Twitter and tended to develop asymmetrical relationships.There is a correlation to date of joining and use of Twitter conventions such as hashtags or retweeting. They noticed that politicians were using the “culture” that Twitter had to offer. Often times the Tweets from the authorities were updates or issues concerning local life. This is important because it relates the people to the politicians in a much more personal way. The author said, “Twitter seems to match the promise of supporting new forms of citizen-government interactions in ways which have not been previously reported in the empirical literature.” So Twitter is definitely supporting more of a people oriented approach to the way we interact with government officials. Unfortunately, the relationships are usually still one-sided, meaning the officials don’t follow many people back. It’s a great thing, but they really are not as interconnected as they could be.