Social media have been under the spotlight for a few years now. Experts were devoted to understanding whether the use of such tools in a government setting was a reality to come and they agreed that the use of social media by the public could have contributed to the construction of a more open, transparent and collaborative government. In addition, social media could have helped tackling some of the most severe problems encountered in early stages of government digitalization. In general, we could say that social media could represent an ideal bridge across Governments’ institutional boundaries establishing a bidirectional communication flow between policy makers and society.
This thesis entitled “Policy Making through Social Media – Application of the PADGETS method and tools in Renewable Energy, Financial Crisis and Women Entrepreneurship Policy” describes how government agencies exploit social media to enhance the participation of the public in policy making, and is conducted as part of the research project PADGETS (policy gagdets) funded by the European Commission. This approach is based on the simultaneous publication of various types of policy related content (texts, images, videos) and applications in multiple social media simultaneously, and also collects from them and processes data on citizens’ interactions (likes, views, comments, votes, video responses, etc.). This poses various questions and challenges concerning its effective application by government agencies, the analysis and usage of social media APIs and the processing of collected citizens’ interaction data, which are researched in the project.
This particular thesis is also presenting a step by step methodology for starting a PADGETS campaign as well as a brief description of three specific ones and their goals and running progress along with results of their launching. The main subjects of these campaigns are mentioned in the title.