Effects of Social Media Use by Public Administrators on Community Mobilization and Security Enhancement in Nakuru County, Kenya
Tagi, Allan Mark Kipkoech
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Public administrators are increasingly using social media in their day-to-day activities and duties. Despite the increased use of social media by public officers, there have not been studies that have investigated how this is affecting their day-to-day work. The aim of the study, from this perspective, was to identify the use of social media within public administration domains and in the community in a bid to document the lessons learnt and to inform improved integration of social media among public officers such as the chiefs and ward administrators. The study first aimed to investigate why public administrators are adopting social media to mobilize communities and in the improvement of security. The study also sought to examine ways in which social media is used to mobilize and enhance security in communities and the impact on community and security movement in Umoja Ward, Lanet Sub County, Nakuru County. The study was based on the diffusion of innovation theory that explains how technology is adopted in organizations while the new public management theory advocates for application of private sector concepts such as use of social media for public administration. A descriptive research design was applied in this study. This helped to answer questions concerning the tools used in social media and their impact on community mobilization and security enhancement. The public and citizens in Lanet Sub County were the target population. The target population was the area chief, assistants, police officers, support personnel and 28,012 adult residents. The study‟s sample size was 68 participants. Data collection was carried out using questionnaires for officials and for citizens. The study used descriptive and content analyses were undertaken according to the objectives of the study. Findings from the study established that the motivators for adoption and use of social media, in line with the dissemination of theory of innovation, was government policies, technological advances, pressure from other public administrations and community staff. The study found that Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube were the most commonly used social media sites. The study also found that social media has increased community involvement in public affairs, such as community policing; increased public administrative transparency; enhanced accessibility for public servants to the community; increased interactivity between public administration and community. Based on findings, the study recommended that ministries should put in place policies to encourage government officials to use social media to communicate with the public and avail requisite infrastructure and gadgets suitable the nature of the interactions. The study also recommends that government agencies such as communication Authority of Kenya should increase public awareness on the importance of using digital platforms for the exchange of information on security issues. The public is advised to embrace social media platforms for interaction with public administrators due to their responsiveness and lower costs.