Paradoxes of Deliberative Interactions on Government-Managed Social Media: Evidence from China

Rony Medaglia, Demi Zhu

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


    The presence of government agencies on increasingly popular social media platforms potentially enables interactions that go beyond one-way government-to-citizen information or service provision, and include citizen-to-citizen open interactions. These interactions can either contribute to deliberative practices, characterized by mutual understanding, reasonableness, and cross-opinion exposure, or hinder them, resulting in increased homophily and polarization. Using the theoretical lens of public deliberation, this study investigates attitudinal and cognitive aspects of user conversations on government-managed social media accounts. Drawing on a survey of 417 users of the Chinese social media platform Weibo, data show that, on the one hand, general conversations between users are characterized by homophily and polarization, even though participants tend to perceive their own interactions as deliberative in some key aspects; and, on the other hand, that participants in conversations on government-managed Weibo accounts -- which are used to a low extent -- perceive their interactions as less deliberative. Findings contribute to research and practice of government social media management aimed at citizen engagement.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 17th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research : Internet Plus Government: New Opportunities to Solve Public Problems
    EditorsYushim Kim, Monica Liu
    Number of pages10
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
    Publication date2016
    ISBN (Electronic)9781450343398
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    Event17th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research. dg.o 2016: Internet Plus Government - Fudan University, Shanghai, China
    Duration: 8 Jun 201610 Jun 2016
    Conference number: 17


    Conference17th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research. dg.o 2016
    Location Fudan University
    Internet address

    Cite this