UAlbany Doctoral Student Presents at NYSLGITDA Annual Conference

May 27, 2015

At the 2015 Annual Conference of the New York State Local Government Information Technology Directors Association (NYSLGITDA), University at Albany doctoral student Jamie Campbell presented the findings from her semester-long study on the use of social media by NYS counties.

Social Media CoverSpecifically, the study addressed the following questions:

  • What social media applications are NYS county governments currently using?
  • What are the common purposes for the social media use in NYS county governments?
  • What are the common topics from social media use in NYS County governments?
  • What are the strategies that NYS county governments can use to maximize social media use?
  • What is the realized value from NYS county governments already using social media?

Through her research, Jamie found that many counties have very specific functions and themes for which they choose to use social media. The top three functions found in social media use by counties are:

  1. Informational (33%)
  2. Announcements (23%)
  3. Notification (18%)

The most popular themes that counties post about are:

  1. Public Safety/EMS (40%)
  2. Events (27.5%)
  3. Specific Persons (23%)

Furthermore, Jamie’s phone interviews with officials in four counties helped her determine that the current users’ main goals are providing information and transparency, with an expectation that social media use will increase interactivity between county governments and citizens. Most notably, all counties interviewed reported a largely positive experience with social media.

UAlbany Associate Professor and Center for Technology in Government Faculty Fellow Dr. Teresa Harrison and CTG Program Director Meghan Cook served as mentors for Jamie’s research. CTG’s Meghan Cook also serves as an advisor to NYSLGITDA and helps organize their annual conference in Saratoga Springs, NY.

This study and subsequent presentation has helped set the foundation for a plenary discussion for the Association. As their members (county, city, and town IT Directors and Chief Information Officers) continue to develop policies, practices, and approaches in using social media within their own counties, this information is becoming increasingly relevant. Jamie will again present these findings on June 9th to the New York State Association of County Clerks in Lake Placid, NY.

Jamie Campbell is doctoral student in Political Communication, Media and Technology program at the University at Albany, State University of New York.