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Public Policy and Administration


Richard Worch


Innovative approaches to communicating with the masses continue to evolve in the private sector, while accessibility of goods, services, and public information within federal, state, and local government organizations has been declining for decades. This situation has resulted in a lack of trust and sense of isolation from communities. At the same time, the implementation and use of social media have increased exponentially. Despite the simultaneous occurrence of these events, limited research has explored the connection between them. Specifically, the purpose of this case study was to address the central research question of whether the adoption of social media platforms results in increased accessibility of goods and services within the public sector. Rogers's diffusion of innovations theory founded the framework for this study. Data were collected within a local government organization through semistructured interviews with 15 employees and 15 clients, observations of daily operations, and analyses of postings made on selected social media platforms. Inductive coding and a comparative method of analysis generated emerging themes and patterns. Key findings of this study indicated significant increases in public accessibility of goods and services as the result of the implementation and use of social media. Relative to diffusion of innovations theory, findings illustrated the spread of new technology through certain channels among employees and clients. Recommendations focus on establishing strategies to ensure widespread diffusion of social media and to address socioeconomic disparities. Government agencies can use this research as a means to advance social change through open communication, an engaged workforce, and increased transparency.