What is social media?

Social media consists of a variety of tools and technologies that includes

  • collaborative projects (e.g., Wikipedia and wiki-spaces),
  • blogs (e.g., WordPress) and microblogs (e.g., Twitter),
  • content communities (e.g., YouTube),
  • social networking sites (e.g., Facebook and Cyworld),
  • folksonomies or tagging (e.g., delicious),
  • virtual game worlds (e.g., World of Warcraft),
  • virtual social worlds (e.g., Second Life), and
  • all other internet-based platforms that facilitate the creation & exchange of UGC (Khan, forthcoming).

All these social media tools are built on Web 2.0 philosophy, but they differ according to the extent to which they focus on the relationships among social actors, users’ identities, conversations among social actors, content sharing, social presence (the ability to know if other users are accessible), reputation management, and the extent to which people can form groups (Kietzmann et al., 2011)[1]. For example, a social network site is a type of social media that focuses mainly on social relationships among social actors and YouTube is a type of social media that mainly focus on the sharing of contents (e.g., videos).

Is Social Media and SNS same?

No. These two terms/concepts are usually confused. A social network service or site (SNS) is an internet-based platform that is used to build and maintain social relations among people who share interests, activities, backgrounds, or real-life connections. SNS is an example of the application of social media i.e., all SNS are social media, but not all social media are SNS. For example, Facebook is an SNS (i.e., facilitate online social networking) and is based on Web 2.0 concepts (i.e., social media & UGC), however, Wikipedia is a type of social media (focused more on online collaborative content creation), but not an SNS (i.e., does not facilitate online social networking). Similarly, all SNS are based on Web 2.0, but not all Web 2.0 are SNS and all social media are based on Web 2.0 concept.

-Khan, G. F., (forthcoming), the Government 2.0 Utilization Model and Implementation Scenarios, Information Development (SSCI), forthcoming, AbstractDownload Authors’ version.
-H. Kietzmann, Kristopher Hermkens, Ian P. McCarthy, Bruno S. Silvestre, Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media, Business Horizons, Volume 54, Issue 3, May–June 2011, Pages 241-251, ISSN 0007-6813, 10.1016/j.bushor.2011.01.005.

[1] More discussion on how social media tools differ can be found in Kietzmann et al., (2011)’s study: Jan H. Kietzmann, Kristopher Hermkens, Ian P. McCarthy, Bruno S. Silvestre, Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media, Business Horizons, Volume 54, Issue 3, May–June 2011, Pages 241-251, ISSN 0007-6813, 10.1016/j.bushor.2011.01.005.

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Call for Papers

Best Practices in Social Media at Non-profit, Public, Education, and Healthcare Organizations

A special issue of Social Science Computer Review (SSCR) Journal

Guest Editors
Gohar Feroz Khan, Korea University of Technology & Education, email: gohar.feroz@kut.ac.kr
Mark C. Hoffman, Grand Valley State University, email: hoffmanm@gvsu.edu
Tomasz Misztur, Cracow University of Economics Poland, email: miszturt@uek.krakow.pl

Key Dates
Deadline for Submissions: July 30, 2013
First Review Due: September 30, 2013
Author Notification: October 15, 2013
Revised Version Due: November 30, 2013
Acceptance: December, 15, 2013
Special Issue Published: Early 2014

Interaction facilitated by social media is becoming an integral part of life in contemporary society, tweaking the human psyche’s deep need to connect. Having changed the creation, sharing, and consumption of information, it inevitably must be integrated into the operation of most human organizations. While some organizations readily adapt themselves to social media, the majority have struggled. While many public-serving organizations are trying to embrace social media, these government, nonprofit, education, and healthcare organizations have complex legal and ethical environments that create special concerns and constraints. For these organizations, social media can be a challenge to: perceived non-partisanship and fairness; student, patient, victim, or client confidentiality; facility security; employee productivity; protection of intellectual capital; information and reputation management; and regulatory compliance and enforcement processes.
The special issue of SSCR aims to investigate and understand different aspects of social media use in government, nonprofit, education, and healthcare organizations. We are soliciting original contributions in the form of evidence-based, “best practices” studies, scholarship on legal and ethical issues, case studies, and empirical research. All lenses of inquiry, including strategic, organizational, behavioural, legal, economic, and technical are encouraged. We are particularly interested in interdisciplinary and international research that develops and applies multiple perspectives. We are interested in success stories, but we believe that valuable lessons can be learned from failures as well. Areas to address include, but are not limited to, those listed below:
Best practices

  • How are government, nonprofit, education, and healthcare organizations using social media to engage, educate, connect and collaborate with their external communities? Or with their volunteers and employees?
  • What should employees say and how should they identify themselves when using social media? Will their contacts differentiate their personal activity from their official activity?
  • How is both freedom of speech and a safe, civil environment ensured in a social media environment?
  • How can privacy and security be protected when photos, videos, and comments are distributed live, and then quickly redistributed?
  • What should be done when third parties (such as former employees and contractors) violate the privacy of clients, expose confidential information, or disseminate misinformation?
  • How are employees and volunteers informed about social media policies?
  • How is the effectiveness of a social media strategy monitored and measured?
  • What mechanisms retard the spread of scams, misinformation and manipulations.

Empirical questions

  • What are the costs and risks associated with integrating social media?
  • How do social media influence administrative ethics and professionalism?
  • How is social media bridging international and jurisdictional borders?
  • Do social media enhance or hinder connections to specific audiences based on age, income, or other socio-demographic characteristics?
  • Which social media tools are most used and most effective?
  • How often do social media support knowledge-sharing between organizations?
  • How much do social media improve fund-raising and volunteer recruitment efforts?
  • What is the cost of social media addiction in the workplace?

Submission Guidelines
Original Manuscripts should be prepared according to the SSCR author guidelines available at http://sm-insight.wikispaces.com/SSCORE+Special+Issue+Submission+Guidelines

About SSCR

SSCR is an interdisciplinary journal covering social science instructional and research applications of computing, as well as societal impacts of information technology. Published quarterly, topics include: artificial intelligence, business, computational social science theory, computer-assisted survey research, computer-based qualitative analysis, computer simulation, economic modeling, electronic modeling, electronic publishing, geographic information systems, instrumentation and research tools, public administration, social impacts of computing and telecommunications, software evaluation, and world-wide web resources for social scientists.
Impact Factor: 1.075
Ranked: 58 out of 99 in Computer Science, Interdisciplinary Applications, 26 out of 89 in Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary and 28 out of 83 in Information Science & Library Science. Source: 2011 Journal Citation Reports® (Thomson Reuters, 2012)
Journal web-site: http://ssc.sagepub.com/

Send inquiries and manuscripts to Dr. Khan at gohar.feroz@gmail.com, Phone: +82-10-5510-8071begin_of_the_skype_highlighting external image numbers_button_skype_logo.png+82-10-5510-8071 FREEend_of_the_skype_highlighting.

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3 ways to engage citizens using social media

By Gohar Feroz Khan

Interaction facilitated by social media is becoming an integral part of our life in the contemporary society. Social media consists of a variety of tools and technologies that includes collaborative projects (e.g., Wikipedia), blogs (e.g., WordPress) and microblogs (e.g., Twitter), content communities (e.g., YouTube), social networking sites (e.g., Facebook), virtual game worlds (e.g., World of Warcraft), and virtual social worlds (e.g. Second Life).

Here I discus three ways in which public sector (both in the developed and developing world) can engage citizens using social media tools/technologies to implement a true open, transparent, and participative government.

  1. 1. Socialize Government Information

First, public sector can leverage social media as an informational and participatory channel to increase citizen’s awareness and enable them to monitor and participate in government activities. Socialization of information can be achieved in two ways: 1) simple information socialization, and 2) complex information socialization. Simple information socialization can be achieved through merely incorporating existing social media tools in the existing government websites (e.g. through comments and discussions) and establishing dedicated social media pages (e.g. through Facebook fan page or Twitter account) to delivery day-to-day information/news to the citizens. Complex information socialization requires establishing advance social media-based informational government portals for informational and participatory purposes (such as http://maplight.org/http://www.data.gov/about, and http://blogs.justice.gov/main/).

An important use of the socialization of information is in situation where the immediate delivery of information/news is crucial, such as disseminating news and information about public safety and in crisis management situations such as, weather, traffic, diseases, and nature or man-made disasters.

  1. 2. Establish Mass Collaboration

Second, public sector can leverage social media tools to poster mass social collaboration between government and citizens and cross agency collaboration. Mass collaboration can be instrumental in crowd sourcing, regulation, and law enforcement. For example, the Peer-To-Patent (www.peertopatent.com) initiative by the Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) of the United States is a good example of mass government and citizen social collaboration in reinforcing regulations. Another example is the Korean government’s smart phone apps developed to enable mass collaboration in reporting illegal car parking, waste disposal, energy misuse, and reporting other inappropriate behaviour. Similarly, another good example of mass collaboration is the “apps for democracy” (http://www.appsfordemocracy.org/application-directory/) initiative: A U.S. government initiative to engage the public in developing new applications for democracy.

  1. 3. Establish Social Transaction

Third, public sector can use social media tools to establish tangible online transactions with the citizens. For example, the U.K. government use a social media or Web 2.0 based website (www.gov.uk) to provide simple, one-stop access to government services online where citizens can access to public services such as tax, driving test, passport, births, deaths, marriages, and care. Another example of using social media for service delivery is the “Fixmystreet” initiative (http://www.fixmystreet.com/): where citizens using an interactive portal report a problem related to their locality (e.g. fly tipping, broken paving slabs, or street lighting) which is then forwarded to the council to fix the problem. Yet another exiting way of public service delivery, open to be experimented with, is using the social network sites (such as Facebook) to provide tangible services to citizens such as renewing drivers licence and paying partaking tickets.


Khan, G. F., (forthcoming), the Government 2.0 Utilization Model and Implementation Scenarios, Information Development (SSCI), forthcoming, AbstractPDF.

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Government 2.0 Utilization Model and Implementation Scenarios

Gohar Feroz Khan

Although it seems that Government 2.0 will finally deliver the promise of a truly transparent government, many practitioners around the globe (particularly those in the developing world) are reluctant or unable to develop strategies and allocate resources to Government 2.0. As a result, governments around the world ignore or mishandle the opportunities and threats presented by Government 2.0. The primary reason underlying this behavior is the lack of understanding regarding Government 2.0. The purpose of the study is to address this gap in knowledge and understanding by presenting and illustrating fundamental concepts of Government 2.0. A web survey of 200 government website from 40 countries (20 each from advanced and developing countries) and 45 Web 2.0 initiatives across the globe was used to present and illustrate fundamental concept of the Government 2.0. We suggested a three stage Government 2.0 Utilization Model (GUM) starting from information socialization (stage 1), and then moving on to mass collaboration (stage 2), and social transaction (stage 3). Based on the web survey, we also suggested three Government 2.0 implementation scenarios (i.e., standalone, nested, and hybrid implementation). The study will help researchers and practitioners in understanding the Government 2.0 phenomenon and the opportunities presented by it.
Keywords: Government 2.0, Social Media, Government 2.0 utilization model, Government 2.0 implementation scenarios, Government 2.0 relationships


Khan, G. F., (forthcoming), the Government 2.0 Utilization Model and Implementation Scenarios, Information Development (SSCI), forthcoming, AbstractPDF.

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