Call for Papers: Special Issue on Government and Social Media

information polity call for papers

Guest-edited by Rodrigo Sandoval-Almazan (State Autonomous University of the State of Mexico, Mexico), Andrea Kavanaugh (Virginia Tech, USA) and J. Ignacio Criado (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain)


Social media use by government started as a new communication channel for government officials looking for an easy and cheap medium to share news and services with constituents and service users. Social media channels typically used include Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Over time, this use has evolved to become a more engaging and participatory channel for online interaction between users and public managers. During crises, such as the pandemic, this type of social media use has increased dramatically, including: government-to-government communication, the provision of public information to guide behaviour and to assess and profile the views and behavior of citizens. Government officials, politicians, and public managers have boosted their social media use during the pandemic and lockdowns, to substitute their face-to-face meetings. This may in the future become the norm, not the exception, even as the pandemic subsides.

In this context, social media use in governmental arenas faces new challenges, in order to ensure that it is an efficient and effective two-way communication channel. The nature of the interaction has changed: the veracity of government messages against misinformation and biases circulated through social media has increased the pressure on quality and trust in governmental messages. There are also privacy concerns relating to the commercial and government profiling of social media communication. This new situation presents a raft of new challenges for citizen and service user engagement, for the development of public policy and services, and the development of new ideas to comprehend the ‘new normal’.

New technological developments are emerging, such as advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics, to help understand social media content, including critical thinking about misleading messages and misinformation. New types of applications and  platforms, such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, TikTok, SnapChat, Linkedin and Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) offer different frameworks for expression and interaction, as well as content analysis, opinion mining, and sentiment analysis. The use and impact of current and emerging social media on government and democratic processes, are among the challenges addressed in this special issue.

This Special Issue features a selection of manuscripts from an open call for papers, as well as the Government and Social Media Track of the 20th and 21st Annual International Conferences on Digital Government Research (dg.o 2019 and dg.o 2020). The papers selected for this special issue will contribute to knowledge in the areas of computational analysis, public policy, social and political participation, governance, and public administration. Articles should be around 8000 words in length. Articles revised from published conference papers must include at least 30% new content and will be fully peer reviewed.

Topics covered by the Special Issue may include:

  • the use of social medial to deliver governmental services,
  • designing policy via social media,
  • using social media for public engagement,
  • the impact of social media on government, public management and public services,
  • the consequences of social media use on trust in government,
  • best practice in the use of social media in government,
  • social media governance
  • social media and crises/disaster management,
  • governmental strategies using social media to counteract fake news,
  • social media governance: risks and challenges,
  • consequences for surveilance and privacy arising from the use of social media,
  • issues associated with using commercial chanels for delivering governmental services,
  • issues associated with the ‘digital divide’ and access to social media
  • virtual reality and social media: crossing boundaries,
  • social media and collective intelligence, and/or
  • social media and social mobilization.



Important dates for the publication of this special issue are as follows:

- November 2nd, 2020: Deadline for abstract submission

- November 16th, 2020: Notification of decision to accept full manuscript submission

- December 31st, 2020: Full manuscript deadline

- January 2nd to March 31st, 2021: Peer review process

- April 5th, 2021: Final decision on manuscripts

- Anticipated publication: Autumn/Winter 2021.


Author Instructions

Instructions for authors for manuscript format and citation requirments can be found at: https://informationpolity.com/guidelines

Abstracts should initially be sent to Rodrigo Sandoval-Almazan (rsandovala@uaemex.mx) by November 2nd 2020.


Guest Editors of Special Issue:

Rodrigo Sandoval-Almazan, State Autonomous University of the State of Mexico, Mexico (rsandovala@uaemex.mx)

Andrea Kavanaugh, Virginia Tech, USA (kavan@vt.edu)

J. Ignacio Criado, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain (ignacio.criado@uam.es)