ABSTRACT: The core objective of this study was to investigate the impact of social media on local government administration in Nigeria with a particular focus on Osogbo local government. The study was anchored on Digital Citizenship Theory and Networked Public Sphere Theory. The research method adopted for this research was a cross-sectional survey, while a questionnaire was used to elicit responses from the respondents within Osogbo local government secretariat. Findings show that, despite the fact that social media have been in our society for over a decade, it is yet to be fully appreciated and completely integrated as one of the core channels of information within the local government administration. It is recommended that if the Information Department of the local government is fully equipped with personnel and materials, it will go a long way in integrating social media into local government activities.
Keywords: Social Media on Local Government
1.1 Background to the Study
Social media has revolutionized communication and connectivity worldwide. Its influence extends to various sectors, including government administration. In Nigeria, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp have become powerful tools that significantly impact local government administration. This research explores the multifaceted impact of social media on local government administration in Nigeria, examining its role in fostering citizen engagement, promoting transparency and accountability, facilitating information dissemination, and encouraging public participation.
Social media has transformed the way citizens engage with their local governments. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook enable citizens to communicate directly with local government officials, sharing their concerns, suggestions, and feedback. Through social media, citizens can voice their opinions and hold local government officials accountable for their actions or inactions. This increased citizen engagement fosters participatory democracy and strengthens the bond between the government and the governed (Kazan, 2017).
Social media platforms have played a vital role in promoting transparency and accountability in local government administration in Nigeria. Citizens can use social media to report cases of corruption, bribery, or misuse of public funds, thereby exposing malpractices that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. This increased transparency discourages corrupt practices, as officials are aware that their actions can be scrutinized by the public. Additionally, social media platforms have become effective tools for monitoring the implementation of government projects, ensuring that they are carried out with integrity and efficiency (Davies & Hughes, 2014).
Social media serves as a rapid and efficient means of disseminating information to the public. Local governments can use social media platforms to share important announcements, policies, and initiatives. This allows for immediate and widespread distribution of information, reaching a larger audience compared to traditional methods such as newsletters or public meetings. Social media also facilitates real-time updates during emergencies or crisis situations, helping local governments provide timely information to citizens and coordinate relief efforts (Ekeanyanwu & Nwachukwu, 2018).
Social media platforms encourage public participation in local government decision-making processes. Through online surveys, polls, and discussion forums, citizens can contribute their opinions and suggestions on various issues. This inclusive approach empowers citizens by giving them a voice and involving them in policy formulation and implementation. Furthermore, social media allows local government officials to seek public input and feedback on proposed projects or policies, resulting in more informed decision-making processes (Okoli & Mgbemena, 2019).
By and large, the impact of social media on local government administration in Nigeria cannot be overstated. It has transformed the dynamics between citizens and government, promoting citizen engagement, transparency, accountability, information dissemination, and public participation. Social media platforms provide citizens with a direct channel to express their concerns, report malpractices, and contribute to decision-making processes. Local governments must recognize the significance of social media in their operations and leverage these platforms to improve governance and service delivery to the people. To this end, this study investigates the impact of social media on local government administration in Nigeria with a particular focus o Osogbo local government.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
This research has observed that in so many organizations, management neither recognizes nor appreciates social media efforts. The management, individuals, or government institution does not realize the potential of social media activities in building and enhancing a good image for the success of the institution. It has been observed that the management’s attitude is lukewarm and non-challenge towards the media department or unit and its activities. Besides, they don’t want to spend money on activities such as organizing seminars, workshops, symposiums e. t. c. Therefore, this study examines the role of social media in Local Government Administration in Nigeria with a focus on Osogbo Local Government, Osun State.
1.3 Objectives of this Study
The general objective of this study is to investigate the role of social media on Local Government Administration in Nigeria. The specific objectives are:
- To assess the extent to which social media is being used by Osogbo Local Government to communicate with its constituents.
- To identify the challenges and opportunities associated with using social media in local government administration.
1.4 Research Questions
In order to explicate the aforementioned objectives, the listed questions provide answers to the research problem:
- How is social media being used by Osogbo Local Government to communicate with its constituents?
- What are the challenges and opportunities associated with using social media in local government administration?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study on the impact of social media on local government administration in Nigeria is significant for several reasons:
- Transparency and Accountability: Social media platforms provide a space for citizens to engage with local government officials, voice their concerns, and hold them accountable. The study can assess how social media enhances transparency and encourages local government officials to be more responsive and responsible to the needs of their constituents.
- Citizen Participation: Social media allows for greater citizen participation in local governance. Through platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp, citizens can easily access information, express their opinions, and participate in decision-making processes. The study can examine the extent to which social media empowers citizens to actively engage in local government administration.
- Information Dissemination: Social media provides a quick and efficient means of disseminating information to a large number of people. Local government authorities can use social media platforms to share news, updates, and policies with citizens. The study can evaluate how social media improves information flow and enhances communication between local government and the public.
- Service Delivery: Social media can facilitate improved service delivery by enabling citizens to report issues, request services, and provide feedback. Platforms like Twitter have been used by citizens to report infrastructure problems, request assistance, and hold local government officials accountable for delivering essential services. The study can assess how social media influences the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery at the local government level.
- Public Perception and Reputation Management: Social media plays a crucial role in shaping public perception and the reputation of local government officials. Negative or positive sentiments expressed on social media platforms can have a significant impact on the image and credibility of local government administration. The study can examine how social media affects public perception and explore strategies for managing online reputation effectively.
- Policy Formulation: Social media can serve as a valuable tool for local government officials to gather feedback, opinions, and suggestions from the public during the policy formulation process. The study can investigate how social media can be used to collect public input, incorporate diverse perspectives, and make policy decisions that better reflect the needs and aspirations of the community.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study which investigates the impact of social media on local government administration in Nigeria has been narrowed in scope to Osogbo local government. Thus, the geographical location of this study is Osogbo, Osun State. The choice of Osogbo local government is due to its proximity to the researcher, and inadequate time to study all 774 local governments across the country among other logistics. However, the demography of the staff and management of Osogbo local government examined such as age, working experience, and academic qualifications considered before the distribution of questionnaires.
1.7 Operational Definition of the Terms
Impact: In this study, it refers to the influence or contribution of social media to local government communication platforms.
Social Media: In this study, social media refers to online platforms and technologies that enable Local government administrators to interact with Osogbo local government publics. It includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok, among others.
Local government: This is the third tie of government such as Osogbo local government.
Administration: This is concerned with organizing, managing, and coordinating the affairs and activities of an organizations