Police in social media: To protect and share?





Social Media, Police


This article explores how senior police officers perceive the presence of the police on social media. While interviewees argued that the police have a “duty of presence” on social media, they also reported that it should focus on information-provision and image-enhancement on the police’s home turf, avoiding confrontations in “external” social media arenas. In addition to its contribution to understanding perceptions of social media in public organizations by collecting data from “elite interviewees,” this paper also makes a theoretical contribution by introducing internal and external social media arenas as significant variables that assist in understanding public organization social media usage. Building on Mergel’s (2013) model of modes of operation of public organizations in social media (representation, engagement, and networking), this study demonstrates that representation prevails in internal social media arenas, while networking is more characteristic of external social media arenas.

Author Biographies

Azi Lev-on, Ariel University

Professor Azi Lev-On is the head of the institute for the study of new media, politics and society in the School of Communication in Ariel University. His research focuses on the social and political uses and impact of the Internet and social media, and particularly on their affordances for and usage by citizens in terms of speech and action, and the corresponding institutional responses.

Gal Yavetz, Bar-Ilan University

Gal Yavetz is (Ph.D) is a Teaching Fellow at the Department of Information Science at Bar-Ilan University and an Adjunct Lecturer at the Faculty of Instructional Technologies at Holon Institute of Technology (HIT). His research focuses on social media and information behavior, with particular interest in government and political information.




How to Cite

Lev-on, A., & Yavetz, G. (2020). Police in social media: To protect and share?. First Monday, 26(1). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v26i1.10459