Enacting the Internet and Social Media on the Public Sector's Frontline

19 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2015

See all articles by Graeme William Mearns

Graeme William Mearns

University of Newcastle - School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Ranald Richardson

University of Newcastle

Liz Robson

University of Newcastle - Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS)

Date Written: November 2015

Abstract

Recognising their growing role in public services, this article draws on the notion of ‘enactment’ to argue that the internet and social media (I&SM) need to be understood in particular institutional, organisational and social contexts. Focusing on street‐level bureaucrats who deliver frontline services, we explore efforts to integrate I&SM into youth work with clients who are thought to be ‘digitally savvy’ but also in need of protection from the ‘online world’. As clients can be vulnerable and trust is a key relational component, organisation–practitioner–client boundaries are complex and under continuous renegotiation. However, the layering of new virtual channels of interaction adds extra complexity. This change necessitates the development of innovative routines, practices and protocols, but these are being developed in a wider social context where the norms of using social media have not caught up with practice and the use of these tools is still often surrounded by moral panic.

Keywords: ICTs, social media, street‐level bureaucrats, e‐government, youth sector

Suggested Citation

Mearns, Graeme William and Richardson, Ranald and Robson, Liz, Enacting the Internet and Social Media on the Public Sector's Frontline (November 2015). New Technology, Work and Employment, Vol. 30, Issue 3, pp. 190-208, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2701546 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ntwe.12054

Graeme William Mearns (Contact Author)

University of Newcastle - School of Geography, Politics and Sociology ( email )

United Kingdom

Ranald Richardson

University of Newcastle ( email )

Department of Geography, Politics and Sociology
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU
United Kingdom
0191 222 8004 (Phone)
0191 232 9259 (Fax)

Liz Robson

University of Newcastle - Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS)

Newcastle NE1 7RU
United Kingdom

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