Police in social media: To protect and share?
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.
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