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Mining government tweets to identify and predict citizens engagement
Siyam, N., Alqaryouti, O., & Abdallah, S. (2020).
The rise of social media offered new channels of communication between a government and its citizens. The social media channels are interactive, inclusive, low-cost, and unconstrained by time or place. This two-way communication between governments and citizens is referred to as electronic citizen participation, or e-participation. E-participation in the age of technology is considered as a mean for citizens to express their opinions and as a new input to be integrated by policy makers to take decisions. Governments and policy makers always aim to increase such participation not only to utilize public expertise and experience, but also to increase the transparency, trust, and acceptability of government decisions. In this research we investigate how governments can increase citizens e-participation on social media. We collected 55,809 tweets over a period of one year from Twitter accounts of a progressive government in the Arab world. This was followed by statistical analysis of posts characteristics (Type, Day, Time) and their impact on citizens’ engagement. Then, we evaluated how well can different machine learning techniques predict user engagement. Results of the statistical analysis confirmed that post type (video, image, link, and status) impacted citizens’ engagement, with videos and images having the highest positive impact on engagement. Furthermore, posting government tweets on weekdays obtained higher citizens’ engagement than weekends. Conversely, time of post had a weak effect on engagement. The results from the machine learning experiments show that two techniques (Random Forest and Adaboost) produced more accurate predictions, particularly when tweet textual contents were also used in the prediction. These results can help governments increase the engagement of their citizens.
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