Policy & Politics
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Mediatised local government: social media activity and media strategies among local government officials 1989–2010

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  • 1 University of Gothenburg, Sweden
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The article examines how local government officials in Sweden use social media and to what extent the emergence of social media has altered the relationship to conventional news media. The article examines the development of local government-media relations across time on the basis of a unique survey-based data set comparing the local political and administrative leadership’s media strategies in 1989 and 2010. The 2010 survey also included questions on how local officials in Sweden use social media in their work, that is, Facebook, Twitter and blogs. The results show that local officials have appropriated social media in their work, but only to a moderate extent. Local officials engage in social media if and when the local government becomes the target of social media scrutiny. Our study also demonstrates that social media have not replaced conventional media as a means of communication with constituencies. Indeed, officials who are active social media users have more contacts with conventional media compared to less active officials. Social media thus contribute to an intensification of the mediatisation of local governance rather than replacing conventional media in local political communication.

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