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The use of twitter by mayors in Turkey: Tweets for better public services?

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"This article aims to provide an overall picture of the use of Twitter as a significant social media tool by mayors in Turkey and to investigate using content analysis and tweet categorization, whether Twitter is used by mayors in Turkey to
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  The use of twitter by mayors in Turkey: Tweets for better public services? Mehmet Zahid Sobaci a, ⁎ , Naci Karkin b,c,1 a Uludag University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Public Administration, Gorukle Campus, 16059 Nilufer, Bursa, Turkey b Pamukkale University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Kinikli Kampus, Denizli, Turkey c Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands a b s t r a c ta r t i c l e i n f o Available online 15 November 2013 Keywords: TwitterSocial mediaTurkish mayorsMunicipalityBetter public service Thisarticleaimstoprovideanoverallpictureofthe useofTwitterasasigni 󿬁 cantsocialmediatool bymayorsinTurkeyandtoinvestigate,usingcontentanalysisandtweetcategorization,whetherTwitterisusedbymayorsinTurkeytoofferbetterpublicservices.Thus, thisstudyfocusesontheimpact of TwitterinTurkeyontransparent,participatory and citizen-oriented local public services. Our analysis has revealed that mayors in Turkey useTwitter especially to share information, send personal messages and share their location and activities. The useof Twitter for transparent, participatory and citizen-oriented public service delivery is not common amongmayors.Twitterisadoptedandusedbymayorsmostlyforthepurposesofself-promotionandpoliticalmarketingin Turkey.© 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 1. Introduction The use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) bypoliticians is not a new phenomenon. However, today, ICTs, especiallythe internet, are more intensively used by politicians (national as wellas local politicians). The increased use of ICTs by elected for variouspurposes is synchronous with advancements in ICTs. Elected of  󿬁 cialshave never been indifferent to developments in ICTs, as innovations inthe  󿬁 eld of ICTs have led to changes in the functioning of politics orhave triggered demand for change. Today, the use of ICTs by electedof  󿬁 cials has become all the more important because of the potential of ICT-based innovative tools to transform the relationship betweenelected and citizens.The internet has the potential to contribute to the delivery of betterpublicservices,torendertherelationshipbetweencitizensandpoliticaland administrative institutions more interactive, and to revitalizedemocracy and encourage participation. In this context, together withthe transition from the web to the web 2.0 today, the purposes of theICT use of the elected have differentiated and diversi 󿬁 ed. As far as thecurrent states of affairs are concerned, the elected have noticed theweb-basedsocialmediatoolsintermsofdirectinteractionwithcitizens.The social media tools (such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube)have increasingly become major channels to disseminate information,to establish direct contact with the public and to provide services.Manyinstitutionshavebegunto share videos via YouTube,beavailablein the Facebook and other social networks and offer informationthrough blogs and microblogs such as Twitter (Bertot, Jaeger, &Hansen, 2012; Jaeger, Bertot, & Shilton, 2012; Kavanaugh et al.,2012). Generally speaking, it is expected that the social media toolsare to boost transparency and accountability in the public sector; toenhance the delivery of public services; to improve policy-makingby enabling the public to take part in decision-making processes; toencourage the cross-agency cooperation and co-production among thepartners, and to contribute to knowledge management (Bertot, Jaeger,Munson, & Glaisyer, 2010; Bonsón, Torres, Royo, & Flores, 2012; Chun,Shulman, Sandoval-Almazan, & Hovy, 2010; Mergel, 2013; Picazo-Vela,Gutiérrez-Martínez, & Luna-Reyes, 2012; Snead, 2013).However, there is a need for empirical research that investigatesto what extent the new technological tools satisfy the expectationsmentioned above and to what extent these tools realize theirpotential of improving public services, enhancing transparency andaccountability, boosting participationand strengtheningdemocracy.In fact, Sandoval-Almazan and Gil-Garcia (2012) demonstrated thatlocal government portals that are the predecessors of social mediatoolspacedslowlyinsomecountriesintermsofcitizenengagement;therefore,e-governmentwasstillrhetoricratherthanreality.Sandoval-Almazan,Gil-Garcia,Luna-Reyes,Luna-Reyes,and Díaz-Murillo(2011),in another study which focused on the use of Web 2.0 on websites of Mexican State, found that even though the usage of Web 2.0 tools andapplications has increased on most of the websites analyzed, theadoption of Web 2.0 on websites of Mexican local governments is stillintheinitialstages.Similarly,LeeandKwak(2012)showedthatfederalagencies have started many social media-based public engagementinitiatives in response to Open Government Directive but such effortsdid not yield satisfactory outcomes. Government Information Quarterly 30 (2013) 417 – 425 ⁎  Corresponding author. E-mailaddresses: zsobaci@uludag.edu.tr(M.Z.Sobaci),nkirgin@pau.edu.tr(N.Karkin). 1 Faculty of Technology, Policy andManagement, Jaffalaan 5,NL-2628BX Delft,TheNetherlands, n.karkin@tudelft.nl, Supported by The Council of Higher Education inTurkey (YÖK).0740-624X/$  –  see front matter © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2013.05.014 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Government Information Quarterly  journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/govinf  Recently, Twitter has become one of the social media tools that isrelied on to boost hopes in terms of transparency, public serviceimprovement, participation and democracy. Even though literature onthe use of social media tools by elected has expanded, there is still alack of studies on the use of social media tools, in general, and Twitter,speci 󿬁 cally, by local governments and local senior elected, such asmayors. As such, this study aims to provide an overall picture of theuse of Twitter as a signi 󿬁 cant social media tool by mayors in Turkeyand to investigate, using content analysis and tweet categorization,whether Twitter is used by mayors in Turkey to offer better publicservices. In accordance with the main theme of this special issue; ourstudy, in the context of co-production and citizen participation in thepublicsectorthroughsocialmedia,analyzes whethertwitter asa socialmedia tool is used by mayors in Turkey to achieve participatory andcitizen-oriented public service. Thus, this study focuses on the impactof Twitter in Turkey on transparent, participatory and citizen-orientedlocalpublicservices.Moreover,thisstudyalsodeterminesthepurposesof the Twitter use by mayors in Turkey. The studies on the use of socialmedia tools in general and speci 󿬁 cally twitter for political purposesfocus on the use of such tools by national politicians during electionperiods. In this context, the main contribution of this article is theanalysis of twitter's role in the improvement of local public services.This study is structured into seven sections. The second sectionexplains the new approaches towards the improvement of publicservices and evaluates the contribution of ICTs in this context. Thethird section reviews the literature on the use of social media tools bypoliticians. The fourth section reveals the data and method of theempirical study that aims to analyze the use of Twitter by mayors inTurkey. The  󿬁 fth section presents the  󿬁 ndings of the empirical study.The sixth section discusses the  󿬁 ndings of the empirical study fromtheperspectiveoftransparent,participatoryandcitizen-orientedpublicservices. The study concludes with the suggestion to use Twitter as atool to improve public services. 2. Background: ICT-based better public service Today, public service improvement or better public serviceconstitutes the vital part of the administrative reforms of countries.Governments have started to question the traditional conception of public service delivery. The main reason is that despite the limited 󿬁 nancial opportunities, the governments confront the demand forincreasing and diversifying social needs and better public services.Budgetary constraints and complicated social problems necessitatethepublicadministrationstodelivermoreandbetterpublicserviceswith fewer resources. Janssen and Estevez (2013) state that thesecontradicting requirements bring up the concept of l-government(lean government). According to Janssen and Estevez (2013), l-governmentisaboutdoingmorewithlessbystreamliningorganizationalstructures and processes, stimulating innovation and facilitatinginteractionswithstakeholder.Inthis context, the searchfor alternativeapproaches to public service delivery has become a current issue.Alternative approaches to traditional public service delivery basedon command-control mechanisms have been introduced by themovement of New Public Management (NPM). Within the contextof NPM's principles, market-type instruments and competition-based public service delivery have emerged. Despite the fact thatthese mechanisms have bene 󿬁 ted in terms of cost reduction, theyhave also received some strong criticisms as they have failed totake into account how public services would be improved from theperspective of citizens. In other words, while the pressure by marketforces on public service delivery provides some gains in terms of ef  󿬁 ciency, it has failed to meet the expectations in terms of improvingthecitizensatisfaction,trustandparticipation(OECD,2011).Therefore,the involvement of citizens into the designing and delivery of publicservices as an innovative approach has been adopted by countries. Inthe age of governance, there lies in the center of new and innovativeapproaches the conception of cooperation with the citizens aimedat improving public services. As a matter of fact, under theumbrella concept of   “ co-production ” , there has been a debate of partnering with citizens in the production of public servicesbeyond consultation (Bovaird, 2007; Brandsen & Pestoff, 2006;Cassia & Magno, 2009; OECD, 2011). It is believed that theinvolvement of citizens into every stage of designing and delivery of public services can help in improving the public services thanks tobetter understanding of their changing needs and the accumulation of information and ideas held by citizens (OECD, 2009). This newconception towards public services alters the role of the citizens andelevates them from the passive recipients of public services to theposition of partner and contributor. The views, expectations anddemands of the citizens are considered as a vital input in improvingthe public services.Boyne (2003, p. 223) de 󿬁 nes the public service improvement as  “ acloser correspondence between perceptions of actual and desiredstandards of public services ” . Nevertheless, the measurement of publicserviceimprovementisacontroversialissue.Allthediscussionrevolvesaround the issue of which aspect of the performance is to be measuredandassessedbywhom(Boyne,Entwistle,&Ashworth,2010).However,it is evident that the new approaches towards public service deliveryboth as a source of input for the improvement of public services andas the most important acceptor of public services in the assessment of those services have given the citizens a central role. In this context,generally in addition to more ef  󿬁 cient and productive public services,what better public service refers to today is a citizen-oriented andparticipatory public services in accordance with the expectations anddemands of citizens.ICTs, especially internet-based tools have the potential to makesigni 󿬁 cant contributions in the implementation of citizen-oriented andparticipatory public services (Chen & Zhang, 2012; Chun, Sandoval-Almazan,&Arens,2011;Chunetal.,2010;Criado,E-Martín,&Camacho,2011; Gil-Garcia, 2012; Loutas, Paristeras, & Tarabanis, 2011; Nam,2012). As a matter of fact, today, ICT-facilitated co-production has beenon the top of the agenda (Linders, 2012) and e-government policies tryto both provide ef  󿬁 ciency and empower and satisfy the citizens(Karlsson, Holgersson, Söderström, & Hedström, 2012). While the useofICTsinthedeliveryofpublicservicesprovidescostsavingsandenablesthe access to the services 24/7, it does also offer new opportunities interms of the relationship between the citizens and the government. Inthis context, thanks to the use of ICTs in the delivery of public services,citizens, on the one hand, can electronically access to the governmentinformationinrelationtodecisionsandservices,takepartintheprocessof decision making that directly affect them, and communicate theiropinions and views about the services delivered by the publicinstitutions to the relevant of  󿬁 cials, governments, on the otherhand, by collecting the preferences, opinions and views of thecitizens about policies and services, are likely to use them as aninput in the process of improving policies and services. Therefore,governmentsstrengthentheirlegitimacybygeneratingmoreacceptablepolicies and satisfactory services. Finally, this process characterizes ICT-based transparent, participatory and citizen-oriented public services.The social media tools that re 󿬂 ect the latest developments in the 󿬁 eldofinternetcanbe used bytheelected and public of  󿬁 cialsfortheimprovement of public services. The intensive use of social mediatools by people can be converted into a golden opportunity interms of reaching the target of better public service by the publicof  󿬁 cials. Of course, there exist some other electronic tools by whichcitizens can communicate their opinions and views to the publicof  󿬁 cials. On the other hand, the existence of other tools is not anobstacle for the use of social media tools for this speci 󿬁 c purpose.Moreover, the popularity of these tools can also be considered as asigni 󿬁 cant power to be used in the improvement of public services.Therefore, in addition to e-mail, discussion forums and complaintportals, the social media tools can be made a part of the conception 418  M.Z. Sobaci, N. Karkin / Government Information Quarterly 30 (2013) 417  – 425  of participatory and citizen-oriented public services as channels inwhich the citizens' complaints, opinions and suggestions about publicservices are collected. As a matter of fact, according to OECD (2009),the social media tools can contribute to the improvement of the publicservicedeliverybyenrichingthecommunicationamongthepartnersof the governments. Social media tools and virtual communities facilitatethe social learning process and support the public services by givingrise to the information sharing and exchange of experiences regardingsimilar services among the citizens, by enabling the sharing of information between the citizens and government communities,and by initiating a dialog process between the parties involved(Gil-Garcia, Ae Chun, & Janssen, 2009; Meijer, Grimmelikhuijsen, &Brandsma, 2012).Forbetterpublicservice,socialmediatoolscanbeutilizedatcentralas well as at local level. These tools can be platforms to engage thecitizens, to exchange views, to share information and to trigger thedebate regarding social and political problems (OECD, 2007). In thiscontext, these platforms may bring about the adaptation of a newconception of local services and the roles of local politicians and theirrelationshipwiththecitizens.Therefore,localgovernmentsmayinformthecitizenproactivelyandmayinvolvethemintotheprocessesoflocalopinion building and decision making (Mambrey & Dörr, 2011).Local governments may take advantage of the different socialmedia tools in different ways in activities aimed at improving thepublic services. For instance, local governments may use the blogsto collect the views and ideas of different stakeholders includingcitizens, employees and bene 󿬁 ciaries; they may start dialogs aboutcorporate social responsibility activities and other projects throughwikis. Local governments may disseminate certain documents (suchas announcement, draft of regulations) and presentations by usingmedia sharing platforms. Moreover, the social networks such asFacebook and Twitter may become the new channels of sending localservices-related messages to the citizens by the local governmentsand local politicians, of information exchange and collecting feedbacksof the citizens and may function as new discussion forums. In thisway, social media tools may enhance transparency, improve policymaking and the provision of public services and facilitate theknowledge management in local governments (Bonsón et al., 2012).In this context, the local governments that are closest units to thecitizens andaffectthe public lifethemostcanalsouse thesetools forcitizen-oriented public services. Here, the locally elected who are inthe center of local politics and decision-making in general and themayors who have executive power in particular have a key role toplay. In Turkey, mayors are political leaders in local politics. Basedon this perspective, this article examines whether the mayors inTurkey use the Twitter for better public service. 3. Literature review: the use of social media tools by politicians Interest in the topic of the use of social media tools by politicianshas been increasing. As the use of these tools by politicians hasbecomes more common, the number of academic studies on thissubject has increased as well. Actually, current literature focuses onthe use of social media tools by national politicians for politicalpurposes and elections. Each of these studies has investigated the useof different social media tools (blogs, YouTube, Facebook, MySpaceand Twitter) in different countries in presidential or general elections.However, there are limited number of studies which focus on the useof social media by local governments and local political leaders suchas mayors. The common  󿬁 nding highlighted in all these studies is thatthe use of social media tools progressively increases day by day andhas a deep impact on the nature of political communication andcampaigns.There have still been insuf  󿬁 cient numbers of studies focusingdirectly on the use of social media tools by local governments andlocally elected (Bonsón et al., 2012; Criado & Martinez Fuentes,2010; Criado, Martinez-Fuentes, & Silvan, 2012; Mambrey & Dörr,2011; Pole & Xenos, 2011; Yannas, Kleftodimos, & Lappas, 2011).Most of these few studies analyze the use of social media tools inlocal elections. Therefore, unlike studies demonstrating the use of social media tools by nationally elected for political campaigns andforpoliticalcommunication,thereisagreatneedforstudiesfocusingon the use of social media tools by locally elected.More speci 󿬁 cally, when the literature is examined from the viewof Twitter, itbecomesclearthatthereareonlyfewstudies ontheuseofTwitterbythepoliticiansandmostofthesestudiesanalyzetheuseof Twitter by the national politicians. Only a few studies on Twitterhave focused on the use of Twitter by local politicians. For instance,Criado et al. (2012), one of the rare studies focusing on the use of Twitter in local election campaigns, revealed that a great majorityof observed candidates in the 2011 Local Elections in Spain actuallyused Twitter. Moreover, there are different patterns of use of thenetwork as a channel for political communication. Gender, size of thepopulation of the candidates' municipality and party membershiphave an impact on the mayor candidates' behavior on the socialnetwork. Mambrey and Dörr (2011) investigated the Twitter use of  the City of Duisburg between May 2009 and October 2009. Theyanalyzed792tweetssentfromtheof  󿬁 cialTwitteraccountinthisperiodand grouped them under certain categories. In conclusion, Mambreyand Dörr (2011) found that Twitter was not an open participativegovernment channel and the voice of city government. Pole andXenos (2011) investigated the Twitter and Facebook use of thecandidates in the 2010 Gubernatorial elections. They found that72% of gubernatorial candidates used Facebook and that 65% usedTwitter.Examining literature on Twitter in general, we see the following:i)TheliteratureonthepoliticaluseofTwitterisstillinitsinfancy.ii)Thequestions of why and how Twitter is used both in political and non-political contexts are the basic questions to which answers are sought.iii) Content analysis and tweet categorization are the most adoptedmethods in the literature on Twitter. iv) Studies on the use of Twitterby politicians focus more on the use of Twitter by national politiciansandontheperiodofpoliticalcampaignsundertheumbrella of politicalcommunication. Studies in the relevant literature have mostlyinvestigated the USA. v) There are only few studies which focus ontheuseoftwitterin 󿬁 eldsotherthanpoliticalcampaigns(improvementof public services, for example). Therefore, there is a need for studiesthat investigate the practices of other countries, address the use of Twitter by local politicians and,  󿬁 nally, focus on the use of Twitter bypoliticians beyond the period of political campaigns. Based on these 󿬁 ndings, the rest of the study focuses on an empirical study that aimsto investigate whether mayors in Turkey use Twitter to provide amore citizen-oriented, transparent and participatory public service. 4. An empirical study: who tweets and why? The empirical part of the study aims to present a general pictureof the Twitter use of mayors in Turkey and to reveal whether Twitteras a social media tool is used by mayors to provide better publicservice. In this context, initially we have established how manymayors have had of  󿬁 cial Twitter accounts. To do that, we applied amixed online search method. First, we determined of  󿬁 cial twitteraccounts of the mayors through a search on the of  󿬁 cial website of municipalities, the of  󿬁 cial website of mayors themselves andTwitter. Moreover, following Lim and Park (2011), we conducted acombined search query ( the name of the mayor  ,  twitter  ) on Googlesearch engine to crosscheck whether related twitter accountsactually belong to the mayors. We did not take into considerationtwitter accounts of people who have same or similar names withthe mayors. The information about the gender, age and partyaf  󿬁 liation of the mayors was obtained from of  󿬁 cial websites of themunicipalities or if available, from of  󿬁 cial website of the mayor. 419 M.Z. Sobaci, N. Karkin / Government Information Quarterly 30 (2013) 417  – 425  Inouranalysis, 󿬁 rst, mayorswithanof  󿬁 cialTwitteraccount wereconsidered in terms of demographic features, political partyaf  󿬁 liation, number of tweets sent, number of followers, number of people followed and average number of tweets. Second, thepurposes of the mayors' Twitter use were investigated. There arecurrently 2950 municipalities in Turkey. Sixteen municipalities of these are metropolitan municipalities, 143 are metropolitan districtmunicipalities, 65 are provincial municipalities, 749 are districtmunicipalities, and 1977 are town municipalities. This studyparticularly focuses on municipalities at the province level andtheir mayors that stand out in terms of size, population, politicaland administrative signi 󿬁 cance, and income in comparison toother municipalities. There are 81 provinces in Turkey. Therefore,as can clearly be seen from the numbers above, some of themunicipalities in some provinces in Turkey have the status of ametropolitan municipality. Therefore, the mayors that we focused onin this study include 16 metropolitan municipality mayors and 65provincial municipality mayors. Metropolitan municipalities are morepopulated than the other municipalities in Turkey. Therefore, themetropolitan municipalities utilize more administrative,  󿬁 nancial andtechnical opportunities. In this context, the mayors will be analyzed intwo different categories.The main question, to which an answer is sought within theframework of this study, is whether Twitter is used by mayors tooffer transparent, citizen-oriented and participatory public services.Thus, 4875 tweets sent from the of  󿬁 cial accounts of the mayorsbetween January 1, 2012 and June 30, 2012 were grouped undercertain categories in terms of their content, and the purposes of theTwitter use by the mayors were revealed.While we carry out our analysis, we faced some dif  󿬁 culties. Duringthe process of determining the of  󿬁 cial twitter accounts of themayors, we realized that some mayors do not have a twitter account(for example, the mayor of Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality). Also,some of them either have never sent a tweet from their twitteraccountsordidnotdosointheperiodofanalysiswhilesomemayorshave sent limited number of tweets both in general and during thestudy period. On the contrary, one mayor has sent too many tweets.Following Golbeck, Grimes, and Rogers (2010), we preferred not toinclude the mayor who sent too many tweets and his tweets intoour analysis to secure the reliability of the study.Moreover, while we analyze tweets of the mayors, we realizedthat there are re-tweets or repeated tweets by the mayors. Byrepeated tweets, we refer to tweets which were sent by the mayorto the same person more than once about the same topic on thesame day. For the reliability of the study, we included only tweetsof mayors in the analysis and did not take re-tweets and repeatedtweets into consideration.To evaluate whether mayors use Twitter to improve the delivery of public services, the popular methods of tweet content analysis andcategorization have been utilized. Each tweet was grouped into one of the categories. Therefore, the mayors' tweets were coded and analyzedin terms of their content. While developing the categories, earlierstudies that adopted the method of tweet categorization were used(Golbeck et al., 2010; Honeycutt & Herring, 2009; Java, Song, Finin, &Tseng, 2007). For example,  daily chatter   category in Java et al. (2007)and locationandactivity categoryinGolbecketal.(2010)includetweetswhich answer Twitter's srcinal purpose question of   “ what are youdoing? ” . In our study, we have  location and activity sharing   categorywhich includes similar tweets of the mayors. Tweets that aim atinformation sharing and include opinions and comments about aspeci 󿬁 c event are covered under  information  category in Golbeck et al.(2010) and under  reporting news  category in Java et al. (2007). In line with the main purpose of our study; making a distinction betweeninformation sharing about public services and information sharingabout other issues, we included  information and news sharing   and  personal opinion and perspective sharing   categories. In Honeycutt andHerring (2009),  exhort   category refers to a category in which tweetsencourage someone to do something. Golbeck et al. (2010) use requesting action  category in the same context. These studies providedthe inspiration for  invitation to events  category in our article. Similar toprevious studies which apply tweet categorization, tweets that werenot understood come under the  unknown  category.However, because our study focused on mayors' use of Twitter, wetried to make sure that we developed categories that were srcinaland appropriate for the aim of the study. Categories such as  direct communication with citizens ,  better public services ,  self-promotion  and  promoting participation  were srcinally included by us in this study.Moreover, while developing categories, tweets were subjected to arandompreliminaryexamination.Inthisway,tweetsthatwerealreadysentbythemayorshavein 󿬂 uencedthedeterminationofthecategories.To reveal mayors' purposes of the use of twitter in a more appropriatedetailed manner, every effort was made to ensure that we developedcategories that re 󿬂 ected all the activities of the mayors and thatcarefully considered all the nuances.The 11 categories under which the tweets of mayors have beencategorized are as follows: information and news sharing, location andactivity sharing, personal messages, direct communication with citizens,communication with elected and appointed, better public services, self-promotion,invitationtoevents,personalopinionandperspectivesharing,promoting participation and the unknown. Table 1 presents the tweetcategories with tweet samples framing each category respectively. 5. Findings 5.1. The overall picture First, based on our investigation, we established that 43 out of 81mayors(16ofwhicharemetropolitanmayors)inTurkeyhadanof  󿬁 cialTwitter account. Twenty-eight out of 43 Twitter accounts belonged toprovincial municipality mayors and 15 to metropolitan municipalitymayors. Note that overall only approximately half of the mayors at theprovince level (43/81) in Turkey have a Twitter account. Thus, it is notpossibletoclaimthatthisscoreishighandthatTwitterhasbeenlargelyadopted by mayors in Turkey at the level of provincial municipalities.The tables below (Tables 2 and 3) illustrate the general informationabout the Twitter use by mayors in Turkey at the province level. Thisinformation includes i) demographic features; ii) political partyaf  󿬁 liations; iii) the number of tweets sent until the date of August1, 2012, the total number of followers and the number of thosefollowed; and iv) the number of tweets sent by the mayors for theperiod between January 1 and June 30, 2012.Examining Table 2 regarding the metropolitan municipalitymayors, we see that all the metropolitan municipality mayors inTurkey are male. The average age of the metropolitan municipalitymayors is 59. Fifteen of the metropolitan municipality mayors inTurkey are Twitter users. Eleven of the metropolitan municipalitymayors in Turkey are mayors of the ruling party — the Justice andDevelopment Party (JDP) — and 10 of them use Twitter. The KocaeliMetropolitan Municipality that belongs to the JDP does not useTwitter. However, the 4 mayors that belong to the main oppositionparty — the Republican People's Party (RPP) — use Twitter. The mayorthat uses Twitter most intensively in Turkey is the mayor of the AnkaraMetropolitan municipality. Moreover, the mayor who is followed themost is again the mayor of the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality. Themetropolitan municipality mayors of the cities of Eski ş ehir, Gaziantep,Kayseri,Konya,SakaryaandSamsun,interestingly,donotfollowanyoneat all. Examining Table 2, we observe that, excluding the mayor of theSakarya Metropolitan Municipality, the number of tweets sent by thesamemayorsmentionedabovewithinaperiodof6monthsisfairlylow.Examining Table 3 regarding the provincial municipality mayors,weobservethattheaverageageofprovincialmunicipalitymayorsincomparison to metropolitan mayors is lower (the average age is 49) 420  M.Z. Sobaci, N. Karkin / Government Information Quarterly 30 (2013) 417  – 425  and that all the provincial municipality mayors that use Twitter aremales. Sixteen of the 28 mayors that use Twitter are members of the JDP. In total, 12 of the provincial municipality mayors of theopposition parties and the independent provincial municipalitymayors use Twitter. In the six-month period during which thestudy was conducted, the provincial municipality mayor that sentthe most tweets was the mayor of the province of Bilecik. Themayor of the province of Van is the one that is followed the most.Apart from the mayors of the provinces of Tunceli and Ayd ı n, allmunicipality mayors at the province level in Turkey are male.Nevertheless, the assessment shows that the few female mayorsarenotTwitterusers.Therefore,allmunicipalitymayorsattheprovincelevelinTurkeywhouseTwitteraremales.Apartfromthegender-basedassessment, Twitter use can also be considered in terms of age. Inaccordance with Law No. 2972, the minimum age of candidacy in localelections is 25 in Turkey. However, the youngest mayor to use Twitteris 34years old. The age range of 46 to 55 indicates the age range thatadopted Twitter the most among the mayors observed. Table 4 showsthe data by age.Whentheprovincialandmetropolitanmayorsareassessedthrougha holistic perspective, one of the main conclusions obtained from thegeneral picture is that the mayors of the ruling party have adoptedTwitter more than the mayors of opposition parties.Excluding the extreme values (for instance, tweets less than 20),in the six-month period during which the study was conducted, theaverage number of tweets sent by mayors was 15 for provincialmunicipality mayors and 11 for metropolitan municipality mayors.Extreme values that were expected to negatively affect the results  Table 1 Tweet categories and their descriptions.Tweet categories DescriptionsInformation and news sharing Under this category, we  󿬁 nd tweets of the mayors that include information sharing and news about the public services offered orabout events organized by the municipality. For example, @ahmetkucukler (Mayor of Erzurum MM):  “ We have launched theconstruction of Aziziye multi-story car park which is vital for the traf  󿬁 c in Erzurum. ”  (June 6, 2012).Location and activity sharing Underthiscategory,therearetweetsthatincludeanswersregardingmayors'currentlocationsandactivitiestheyareinvolvedin,inresponse to Twitter's srcinal purpose question of   “ what are you doing? ” . For example, @yukselcakir24 (Mayor of Erzincan):  “ Wehave friendly conversations with the ladies who work out with the  󿬁 tness instruments in the park we have built in Cumhuriyetdistrict. ”  (June 9, 2012).Personal messages Underthiscategory,weseemayors'tweetsaboutimportantreligiousandnationalholidaysandalsomayors'messagesnotrelatedtopublicservice suchas information about birthdays, obituaries and weddings that mayors know about. For example, @kerimaksu28(Mayor of Giresun):  “ I wish to congratulate the National Independence and Children's Day and the 92nd anniversary of thefoundation of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. ”  (April 23, 2012).Direct communication with citizens Under this category,there are tweets that include personal communication messages that are not considered within the context of public service delivery or improvement: messages of congratulating, celebrating, supporting or criticizing. For example, @dbbismailbayram(MayorofDuzce): “ @ErolEsraIcongratulateyoufortheawardyouhavewonandwishthatyoukeepupthegoodwork. ”  (June 12, 2012).Communication with elected and appointed This category includes communication of elected such as MPs, ministers, other mayors and appointed working within themunicipality administration. For example, @falaydin (Mayor of Bitlis):  “ @Vahit_Kiler My dear MP, you deserve the top 󿬂 ight,congratulations. ”  (June 29, 2012).Better public services Underthiscategory,therearetweetsthathelpmayorstoinformthepublicaboutlocalpublicservicesaswellastweetsthatincludeopinions, suggestions, or criticisms of citizens about the delivery of local public services. Thus, tweets that enabled public opinionsabout local public services to be reported to the mayor as a feedback have been categorized under this category. This particularcategory, which actually constitutes the main pillar of this study, examines to what extent mayors directly communicate withcitizens through Twitter in an attempt to improve the public service delivery. For example, @m_akaydin (Mayor of MM):  “ Dear @musakocak07 Therewill alsobea storm drainagework inthesameplace.After thecompletion ofall theseworks,theasphalt workwill kick off. ”  (June 18, 2012).Self-promotion This category includes tweets between the mayors, the mayors' own party leaders and top of  󿬁 cials of the party. These tweets mayincludeaphotoofamayortakenwithhisownpartyleader,alinktocomplimentarynewsorarticlesaboutthemayororappreciativestatementsofthepartyleaderortoppartyof  󿬁 cialsaboutthemayor.Forexample,@zihnialdirmaz(MayorofAdanaMM): “ ThePrimeMinister graced our beloved city of Adana with his presence early last night ”  (May 5, 2012)Invitation to events This category includes tweets that inform the public of artistic, cultural or sportive events organized by the municipality or otherpublicinstitutionsandthatinvitethepublictoattendthoseevents.Forexample,@Seyit_TORUN(MayorofOrdu): “ Ourentirefellowtownsmen are invited to the conference of   “ The Political Developments in Turkey and the World and Predictions for the Future. ”” (January 4, 2012).Personal opinion and perspective sharing Underthiscategory,therearetweetsthatincludetheopinionsofthemayoraboutanissueoranincidentthatoccupiestheagendaof thecountryaswellasstatementsaboutlifethatre 󿬂 ectthepersonalperspectiveofthemayor.Forexample,@sbbzekitocoglu(Mayorof Sakarya MM):  “ Being disabled is not the voluntary choice of a person, but his/her fate. ”  (May 24, 2012).Promoting Participation ThiscategoryincludestweetsthatencouragetheparticipationofcitizensinparticipatorymechanismssuchasmunicipalitycouncilsorcitycouncilmeetingsorinmeetingswherecitizenscandirectlyaskquestionsaboutlocalissuestoamayororaministeroranMPin order to debate about local services and policies. For example, @baydemirosman (Mayor of Diyarbakir):  “ The meeting of CityCouncil was concluded. Participation is the basic right of each and every fellow townsman. This right is at the same time a duty aswell. ”  (May 30, 2012).Unknown This category includes tweets whose content are not clear.  Table 2 Mayors of metropolitan municipality in Turkey and TwitterMunicipality Age Gender Party Tweets a ( n )Tweets b ( n )Follower( n )Following( n )1 Adana 65 Male JDP 1.042 416 2048 112 Ankara 64 Male JDP 32.218 NA 327,407 173 Antalya 60 Male RPP 1.349 508 5655 1174 Bursa 53 Male JDP 24 5 1254 555 Diyarbak ı r 41 Male PDP c 945 383 52,868 4416 Erzurum 42 Male JDP 197 97 544 1137 Eski ş ehir 76 Male RPP 344 17 6831 08 Gaziantep 61 Male JDP 27 1 1619 09  İ stanbul 67 Male JDP 25 23 25,246 210  İ zmir 64 Male RPP 0 NA 470 1011 Kayseri 55 Male JDP 0 NA 274 012 Kocaeli 60 Male JDP NA NA NA NA13 Konya 53 Male JDP 2 NA 391 014 Mersin 58 Male RPP 8 8 67 1615 Sakarya 57 Male JDP 976 582 1693 016 Samsun 61 Male JDP 23 12 443 0 a Until the date of 01.08.2012. b For period between January 1 and June 30, 2012. c PDP: Peace and Democracy Party.421 M.Z. Sobaci, N. Karkin / Government Information Quarterly 30 (2013) 417  – 425
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