Conceptual Framework

Drivers of Social Media Adoption

Several studies have tried to shed light on the factors that affect the adoption of Web

2.0 applications by government agencies at the local level. These factors are related to municipality (i.e., size, region), local government (i.e., structure), and citizens' characteristics (i.e., voters' turnout, internet usage, education). In the context of the United States, Norris and Reddick (2013) confirmed the effect of population size and region of the municipality on the adoption of social media by local authorities. Moreover, Oliveira and Welch (2013) reported a positive relation between the existence of an internal IT department and the implementation of social media practices by local government officials. Rather, the size of the municipality had no effect on social media usage. In a more recent study of Reddick and Norris (2013), the positive impact of citizens' education and year of website creation on adoption of e-government 2.0 initiatives was confirmed while a nonsignificant relationship was found between the existence of an IT department and the utilization of Web 2.0 technologies by local authorities. Citizens' education was also found to play an important role on the adoption of Facebook by municipalities in Sweden (Larsson 2013). Furthermore, the study of Larsson (2013) revealed a positive association between the size of the municipality and the usage of social media like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Twitter adoption by Swedish local governments was also positively related with the level of citizens' Internet usage but negatively associated with voters' turnout. It seems that, in municipalities with high abstention levels local governments try to create bonds with citizens through extensive use of social networking sites (SNSs). Christensen (2013) investigating municipalities in Finland found that the size of municipality (i.e., population) affects the adoption of e-democracy applications (i.e., discussion forums, and commenting) by local governments. On the contrary, the study of Bonsón et al. (2012) regarding 15 European cities, found no evidence that factors such as citizens' access to Internet services and usage of e-government 1.0 services affect implementation of e-government 2.0 initiatives which are primarily influenced by local government's previous implementation of e-government 1.0 applications. Hence, research so far has produced contradictory results regarding which factors have a significant effect on the adoption of e-government 2.0 features. To shed more light on the drivers of e-government 2.0 adoption, the present study will address the following research question: RQ1: What are the drivers of the adoption of e-government 2.0 applications by local governments in terms of (a) municipality characteristics such as size and tourism activity of the municipality, (b) local governments' characteristics such as operation of an internal IT department, and (c) citizens' characteristics in a given municipality such as the level of internet usage, the use of e-government services, the level of higher education and the voters' turnout.

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