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Social Media and Local Government: citizenship, consumption and democracy

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JournalLocal government studies
DateAccepted/In press - 2013
DateE-pub ahead of print - 8 Jul 2013
DatePublished (current) - 1 Jan 2014
Issue number1
Volume40
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)21-40
Early online date8/07/13
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article seeks to assess and understand the role played by new forms of internet-based communication in UK local governance. Drawing on a survey of all English local authorities the article examines the utilisation of social media before going on to ask what potential these media might hold for the enhancement of local participation. Amidst contemporary debates about the nature of local governance, not least those prompted by the recent preoccupation with the Big Society, Web 2.0 platforms such as Facebook and Twitter afford new opportunities for online interaction that could contribute to the reinvigoration of the local public sphere. In particular these platforms could encourage forms of participation that would bridge the divide that has emerged in recent years between residents as consumers of local services and residents as citizens, or local democratic actors.

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