The Impacts of Social Media on Government and Democracy: An Examination of Municipal Usage in Nova Scotia, Canada
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Web 2.0 and social media is purported to be a driver of citizen engagement and participative capacities. However, there are tensions between these open networked technologies, and traditional democratic and administrative governance systems. These tensions create a set of tensions between communications and engagement stemming from the deployment of Web 2.0 and social media technologies. This chapter examines social media trends and usage at the local level in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. Studying both administrative and electoral usage in the autumn of 2012, we found that social media platforms are still new for municipalities and local politicians in the province with only half of municipalities and half of the politicians in the two major urban centers using social media. Moreover, they used social media primarily as a means toward one-way information sharing and communicating. As Web 2.0 technologies continue to proliferate, and as governments continue to experiment, a more open, outward and interactive public sector, both administratively and democratically, is needed in order to foster capacities for genuine engagement.
KeywordsGovernment Social media Technology Internet Elections Engagement Communications
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