PurposeThis paper examines the communication modalities on Twitter to broadcast content to citizens and measures the effectiveness of the posted content in activating the citizens’ political participation proposing an retweetability rate.Design/methodology/approachThrough content analysis of the European Commissioners’ posts, this paper identifies the most used communication modalities to broadcast content to the citizens. A retweetability rate is proposed to measure the effectiveness of the posted content in activating the political citizens’ engagement. The methodology is applied to the tweets posted by European Commissioners, who are currently facing democracy legitimation issues and Euroscepticism.FindingsEmpirical results show that Twitter is not fully used yet as a citizen engagement tool. However, the paper highlights the potentiality of Twitter to broadcast contents of value and build a relationship of citizens and institutions.Practical implicationsMeasuring citizen engagement based on the posted messages can help the institutions to evaluate the effectiveness of the posted social media content. Moreover, the paper gives suggestions regarding how governments might implement social media content capable of fostering a dialogic communication with citizens.Originality/valueA measurement of citizen engagement permits the identification of which kinds of public communication stimulate the engagement and favor a closer bond between citizens and public institutions.
Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 19, 2018
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