Open Access Article

Title: How do cities use their communication channels? A study of social media adoption in two European federal states

Authors: Iris Bhatia; Vincent Mabillard

Addresses: Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration, University of Lausanne, Bâtiment IDHEAP, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland ' Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), 42 Av. F. D. Roosevelt, 1050 Brussels, Belgium

Abstract: Although they often remain active on other traditional and digital channels, such as newsletters, public sector organisations are increasingly active on social media to communicate with the public. While the usage of these social media platforms has gained attention from many scholars and practitioners, the articulation of diverse channels in cities' communication has remained under-commented. In this article, we investigate this issue through an analysis of the channels preferred by Swiss and Austrian cities to communicate with the population. The following questions are of particular interest: What are the main communication channels used by cities? And are cities that communicate through multiple channels more likely to adopt social media? Results show that cities are less active on social media than on traditional and other digital channels; however, cities present on a social media platform are more likely to extend their presence on these new channels.

Keywords: public communication; digital government; social media; local government; Switzerland; Austria.

DOI: 10.1504/EG.2022.121970

Electronic Government, an International Journal, 2022 Vol.18 No.2, pp.119 - 136

Received: 25 May 2021
Accepted: 26 Sep 2021

Published online: 01 Feb 2022 *