Representations of Governmental Websites on Social Media

Team Members

Marije Rooze, Burak Dogu


This study is mainly interested in the connections of governmental websites to social networking websites. Since the social networking websites form a kind of virtual public sphere, it is important to know their roles in linking. From this point of view, we are mainly interested in the type of relationship between the two sides. Within the frames of this study, the recent issue on BP oil spill was selected as a case.

Research Question

The aim of this project is to find an answer to how social media connects to the information provided by the governmental initiative online. In particular, we are interested in observing the governmental representations that are shared through the social media.


1. URLs from the of the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and NLM (National Library of Medicine) websites which are thought to be reliable were extracted.

2. Then the URLs were put to Issuecrawler to generate a map of the websites connected to the case study. In this phase, various settings were used for the Issuecrawler in order to get the most useful map.

3. Using the Issuecrawler, the startingpoints and network URLs were retrieved.

4. Backtype Stats tool was used to find out the number of tweets made via the URLs.

5. URL Linter tool was used to get the 'like' counts.

6. Finally, using Adobe Illustrator the collected data were merged with the map provided by the Issuecrawler.


Regarding the map generated by Issuecrawler, it was founded that most of the governmental websites are linked to eachother and they were shared through Twitter. Amongst those to be shared, the most significant websites are the ones which blong to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. National Park Service, National Weather Service (National Hurricane Center), Red Cross. Anyway, it was also found that the websites in the govspace were not 'like'd. The only website which was 'like'd using another social networking site Facebook is the official website of Medline Plus. Another interesting point, which relates with the BP's situation in this map must be underlined. It was clearly observed that the official BP website was not linked by any governmentel initiative.

F.1 Map with the number of tweets and 'like's


F.2 The top 5 websites tweeted

Highest Twitter Counts

Issues and Limitations

The main fact that can be taken as a limitation is the social user activities. Because it was not possible to observe all kinds of activities. For instance, this study was only interested in the number of tweets and 'like's but it did not focus on the quality of discussions in which the active users were involved.

Further Research

Further research should be done on various cases to compare the findings from this study.
Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
most_tweeted.pdfpdf most_tweeted.pdf manage 692 K 12 Sep 2010 - 20:03 Main.Marije  
oil_map_social.pdfpdf oil_map_social.pdf manage 1 MB 12 Sep 2010 - 20:00 Main.Marije  
oil_map_tweets.aiai manage 1 MB 10 Sep 2010 - 15:15 Main.Marije Original illustrator
oil_map_tweets_2.jpgjpg oil_map_tweets_2.jpg manage 353 K 10 Sep 2010 - 15:14 Main.Marije  
oil_map_tweets_complete.jpgjpg oil_map_tweets_complete.jpg manage 378 K 12 Sep 2010 - 19:58 Main.Marije  
oil_spill_urls_tweets.xlsxxlsx oil_spill_urls_tweets.xlsx manage 41 K 12 Sep 2010 - 20:05 Main.Marije data twitter facebook
pp.pptppt pp.ppt manage 1 MB 10 Sep 2010 - 15:20 Main.Marije Powerpoint
Topic revision: r6 - 12 Sep 2010, Marije
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