Title: The use of Twitter to promote e-participation: connecting government and people

Authors: Arwa Yousuf Al-Aama

Addresses: Department of Computer Science, King Abdulaziz University, P.O. Box 16735, Jeddah, 21474, Saudi Arabia

Abstract: Twitter, the fastest growing social media tool, with its millions of users and being freely available and accessible, has become suitable for public organisations to communicate with stakeholders. Saudi Arabia has the largest percentage of online users using Twitter in the world. This paper discusses how Saudi municipalities use Twitter to communicate with citizens, by analysing tweeting patterns, tweet types, tweet content, follower reactions, and other statistics, in around 12,000 tweets, which account for all tweets sent out from the ten main municipalities. Results show that municipalities send out nine different types of tweets, with project information and calls for action tweets causing the most user reactions. Although, these types are seldom used despite their importance in improving citizen participation. Other detailed statistics and correlations are discussed in the paper and recommendations on how to maximise benefits of Twitter as a successful e-participation tool are explained.

Keywords: Twitter; social media; e-participation; Saudi Arabia; e-government; citizen participation; municipalities; transparency; e-democracy; web based communities; virtual communities; online communities; electronic participation; online participation; electronic government; electronic democracy; tweeting patterns; tweet types; tweet content; follower reactions.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2015.067082

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2015 Vol.11 No.1, pp.73 - 96

Available online: 22 Jan 2015 *

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