PhD Candidate James Lannigan on “Examining government cross-platform engagement in social media”

Ph.D. Candidate James Lannigan, in collaboration with Professor Anatoily Gruzd and Professor Kevin Quigley, published an article entitled, “Examining government cross-platform engagement in social media: Instagram vs Twitter and the big lift project” in Government Information Quarterly. The article compares the use of Instagram and Twitter by Halifax Harbour Bridges (HHB) to engage the public around the bridge re-decking project. The authors argue that although the Instagram posts seemed to be more engaging, the use of Twitter appeared to address social concerns more effectively.

James Lannigan is currently conducting dissertation research on entrepreneurial networks, and examining how individuals, retailers, and institutions use social media. Professor Anatoily Gruzd is a Canada Research Chair in Social Media Data Stewardship, Associate Professor and Research Director of the Social Media Lab in the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University. Professor Kevin Quigley is the Scholarly Director of the MacEachen Institute for Public Policy and Governance at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available here

Gruzd, Anatoliy, James Lannigan, and Kevin Quigley. 2018. “Examining government crossplatform engagement in social media: Instagram vs Twitter and the big lift project.” Government Information Quarterly 35(4):579-587.

As governments are increasingly turning to social media as a means of engaging the public, questions remain as to how they are actually using various social media platforms. Do specific platforms engender specific types of messages? If so, what are they, and how do they affect civic engagement, co-participation, and address citizen concerns? In this paper, we compare the use of Instagram and Twitter by ‘The Big Lift’, a bridge re-decking project completed by Halifax Harbour Bridges. Based on a content analysis of Instagram (n = 248) and Twitter (n = 1278) public posts, we found that Instagram was used as a more ‘informal’ narrative platform that promoted a clicktivist type of responses from the audience, whereas Twitter was a more ‘formal’ news platform that supported greater two-way communication between the organization and the audience. We conclude that by building and maintaining their active presence and following base on social media, and especially on Twitter, organizations can develop a capacity to address social concerns during disruptive events or infrastructure projects like ‘The Big Lift’.