Connecting citizens and local governments? Social media and interactivity in major U.S. cities

Karen Mossberger, Yonghong Wu, Jared Crawford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

333 Scopus citations


Changing the relationship between citizens and government is often cited as a goal for digital government, and new tools such as social media have the potential to improve interactions with citizens through dialogue. Citizens are most likely to participate at the local level (Berry, Portney and Thomson, 1993; Oates, 1972; Oakerson, 1999), and the largest cities have traditionally been at the forefront in the adoption of e-government innovations (Moon, 2002; Ho, 2002). We examine the use of social networks and other interactive tools in the 75 largest U.S. cities between 2009 and 2011. During this period, the adoption of Facebook skyrocketed from just 13% of the cities in 2009 to nearly 87% in 2011; similarly, the use of Twitter increased from 25% to 87%. We further explore three case study cities through analysis of discussion on social networks, and interviews, and find that one-way "push" strategies (Mergel, 2013a) predominate, although there are some signs of greater openness toward dialogue with citizens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-358
Number of pages8
JournalGovernment Information Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Civic engagement
  • Open government
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law


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