The High Court and the Cocktail Party from Hell: Can Social Media Improve Community Engagement with the Courts?
(2016) 25 (3) Journal of Judicial Administration 175
28 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2017
Date Written: April 5, 2016
Courts in Australia and overseas have been actively encouraged to use social media to connect with the community. Social media management is time consuming, especially if the courts’ message is to be heard above the “hyper din” of other simultaneous exchanges. The user-generated content also means that it can be unpredictable and active engagement by courts with litigants raises significant issues. Despite these risks, there has been little empirical research done about the extent to which courts’ engagement with social media will deliver any benefit. As a case study, this article examines the volume and content of Twitter commentary about two significant High Court matters in September and October 2014 to assess the depth and breadth of community engagement. It compares Twitter discussion of the High Court proceedings with contemporaneous Twitter events. It reveals that as a platform for community engagement with the courts, Twitter is neither well used nor persuasive. Further research with consumers of social media is required before opening more Australian courts to this medium.
Keywords: social media, Twitter, courts, public, High Court of Australia
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