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    The impact of polices on government social media usage: Issues, challenges, and recommendations

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    1. Social media and government
    Social media refers to a set of online tools that are designed for
    and centered around social interaction. In practice, social media serves
    as a catchall phrase for a conglomeration of web-based technologies
    and services such as blogs, microblogs (i.e., Twitter), social sharing
    services (e.g., YouTube, Flickr, StumbleUpon,, text messaging,
    discussion forums, collaborative editing tools (e.g., wikis), virtual
    worlds (e.g., Second Life), and social networking services (e.g. Facebook,
    MySpace) (Hansen, Shneiderman, & Smith, 2011). These tools vary dramatically
    in their purposes and approaches, but they share an emphasis
    on enabling users to communicate, interact, edit, and share content in a
    social environment (Porter, 2008; Tepper, 2003). Unlike traditional
    media, social media relies on user-generated content, which refers to
    any content that has been created by end users or the general public
    as opposed to professionals. Traditional media such as radio, books,
    and network television is primarily designed to be a broadcast platform
    (one-to-many), whereas social media is designed to be a dialogue
    (many-to-many interaction) (Porter, 2008). This many-to-many interaction
    allows large groups of geographically dispersed users to produce
    valuable information resources (Benkler, 2002), solve challenging
    problems by tapping into unique and rare expertise (Brabham, 2008),
    and gain diverse insights and perspectives through discussion.
    While the term social media is relatively new, the idea of using
    online tools to facilitate social interaction across time and space
    has been with us for decades in the form of email lists, Usenet, and
    Bulletin Boards. These early forms of social media showed that surprisingly
    rich social worlds with their own unique cultures can
    emerge through something as simple as text-based conversations
    with strangers (Burnett & Bonnici, 2003; Burnett & Buerkle, 2004;
    Smith & Kollock, 1999), particularly if those conversations can be
    overheard by others (Hansen, 2009). Over time a range of new social
    media services have emerged, each with its own unique architecture
    that shapes the types of interactions that can occur (Lessig, 2006), as
    well as the way user-contributed data is managed. Services differ in
    their scope, the pace of interaction, the type of content being shared
    (e.g., videos, images, text), who can control the data, the types of
    connections between users and items, and data retention policies
    (Hansen et al., 2011). Indeed, small changes in the design of social
    media tools and policies around them can be vital to their success
    and failure (Maloney-Krichmar & Preece, 2005; Preece, 2000). Despite
    these differences, this paper focuses on social media as a group because
    many of the regulations that affect one tool also affect other tools.
    Social media technologies are now regularly employed by a majority
    of internet users. Among younger users, the use of these tools is nearing
    universal, such as 86% of 18–29 year olds using social media everyday
    (Madden, 2010). Similarly, 72% of adults and 87% of teens use text
    messages everyday (Lenhart, 2010). In July 2010, Facebook announced
    that it had over 500 million users. As the number of users has increased
    there has been a growing interest in applying social media toward
    addressing national priorities (Pirolli, Preece, & Shneiderman, 2010),
    not just using them for entertainment or corporate purposes.
    President Obama became a strong advocate for the use of social
    media when he was presidential candidate Obama. A great deal of
    fundraising and org

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