Do policymakers use social media for policy design? A Twitter analytics approach
Social media has been used widely for communicating information, awareness, and promote public policies by government agencies. However, limited attention has been paid to the use of social media in improving the design of public policies. This paper explores to what extent citizens' responses/opinions expressed on social media platforms contribute to policy design. The paper analyzes discussion about the 'Ayushman Bharat' scheme on Twitter through social media analytics techniques (e.g., content analytics) and then traces the change in policy design over two years. To validate findings from Twitter data, and assess the evolution in policy design, we conducted in-depth interviews with experts and extensive document analysis. The paper reveals that consistently similar issues were raised by the experts in the past as well as by the citizens in the current scheme. However, over the period, the policy design has not changed significantly. Therefore, despite a strong social media presence, its optimum use to improve policy effectiveness is yet to be achieved. The paper contributes by exploring the role social media can play in the public policy process and policy design in developing countries' contexts and identifies gaps in existing social media strategies of public agencies.
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