Steinfeld, Nili, and Lev-On, Azi. 2015. "Well done, Mr. mayor!”: Linguistic analysis of municipal Facebook pages. International Journal of E-Planning Research, 4(2), 26-38.

The increasing use of online social networks has given rise to a new kind of relations between residents and authorities at the municipal level, where residents can more easily than ever engage with administrators and representatives, participate in open discussions, and may have more direct involvement and influence on local affairs. The more direct democracy facilitated by social media tools fascinates communication and political science researchers. But while most of their attention is drawn to national politics, the municipal arena can be even more affected by these new means of direct communication. This paper focuses on municipal administration on Facebook, and analyzes the discourse that has developed between citizens and local administrators on municipal Facebook pages, using automatic digital tools. The contents of all formal municipal Facebook pages in Israel were extracted using digital tools, and all posts and comments published on these pages in a period of six months were analyzed using automatic linguistic analysis tools. The paper presents the prominent words and expressions, and terms networks and clusters in the formal municipal Facebook pages. The study discusses the findings, their implications, and the advantages and limitations of using digital tools to analyze texts in a digital research field.


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