Challenges of Digital Politics at the Subnational Level in Sweden: Descriptions and Explanations of Social Media Usage

  • Gustav LidénEmail author
Part of the Public Administration and Information Technology book series (PAIT, volume 29)


Since a number of years the use of social media in political processes appears to have had a significant effect on the political landscape. Irrespective of advantages or disadvantages of such technologies scholars have revealed great differences in how digital technologies have been adopted among subnational entities. Citizens risk facing substantial varieties in preconditions for the utilization of digitally based tools based on their residency. In this book chapter on Swedish municipalities adoption of social media both descriptions and patterns explaining variation in such adoption are studied. Findings indicate that an overwhelming majority of Swedish municipalities use social media. Based on the time period applied it can also be noticed that this proportion has increased annually. The explanatory models reveal particularly two noteworthy findings. First, larger municipalities with an already well-developed website are more inclined to adopt social media. As an additional predictor, municipalities with certain funding for democratic development shows a similar pattern. Second, when assessing municipalities versatility in social media usage two of the these predictors show relevance. Lager municipalities with an advanced website are more inclined to utilize social media for different reasons. Since this book chapter shows that certain resources, such as an already developed website and a larger population, will pose influence on social media usage the distribution of this form of digital technology can be distributed unequal over societies.


Social Media Users Digital Politics Swedish Municipalities Municipal Users Municipal Websites 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Bonsón, E., Torres, L., Royo, S., & Flores, F. (2012). Local e-government 2.0: Social media and corporate transparency in municipalities. Government Information Quarterly, 29(2), 123–132. Scholar
  2. Boulianne, S. (2015). Social media use and participation: A meta-analysis of current research. Information, Communication & Society, 18(5), 524–538. Scholar
  3. Election Authority (2017). Voter turnout in municipal election 2014. Retrieved: 20170515.Google Scholar
  4. Ellison, N., & Hardey, M. (2014). Social media and local government: Citizenship, consumption and democracy. Local Government Studies, 40(1), 21–40. Scholar
  5. Feeney, M. K., & Brown, A. (2017). Are small cities online? Content, ranking, and variation of U.S. municipal websites. Government Information Quarterly, 34(1), 62–74. Scholar
  6. Fuchs, C. (2014). Social media: A critical introduction. London: SAGE Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. van der Graft, P., & Svensson, J. (2006). Explaining edemocracy development: A quantitative empirical study. Information Polity, 11(2), 123–134.Google Scholar
  8. Haug, A. V. (2007). Local democracy online. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 4(2), 79–99. Scholar
  9. Hofmann, S., Beverungen, D., Räckers, M., & Becker, J. (2013). What makes local governments online communications successful? Insights from a multi-method analysis of Facebook. Government Information Quarterly, 30(4), 387–396. Scholar
  10. Karpf, D. (2012). Social science research methods in internet time. Information, Communication & Society, 15(5), 639–661. Scholar
  11. Kreiss, D. (2016). Prototype politics: Technology-intense campaigning and the data of democracy. Retrieved May 5, 2017 from
  12. Larsson, A. O. (2013). Bringing it all back home? Social media practices by Swedish municipalities. European Journal of Communication, 28(6), 681–695. Scholar
  13. Lidén, G. (2013). Supply of and demand for e-democracy: A study of the Swedish case. Information Polity, 18(3), 217–232.Google Scholar
  14. Lidén, G. (2016). Inequality in local digital politics: How different preconditions for citizen engagement can be explained. Policy & Internet, 8(3), 270–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lidén, G., & Larsson, A. O. (2016). From 1.0 to 2.0: Swedish municipalities online. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 13(4), 339–351. Scholar
  16. Margetts, H., John, P., Hale, S., & Yasseri, T. (2016). Political turbulence: How social media shape collective action. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Norris, P. (2001). Digital divide?: Civic engagement, information poverty, and the internet worldwide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Nyhlén, J., & Lidén, G. (2014). Methods for analyzing decision-making: A framework approach. Quality & Quantity, 48(5), 2523–2535. Scholar
  19. Oliveira, G. H. M., & Welch, E. W. (2013). Social media use in local government: Linkage of technology, task, and organizational context. Government Information Quarterly, 30(4), 397–405. Scholar
  20. Reddick, C. G., & Norris, D. F. (2013). Social media adoption at the American grass roots: Web 2.0 or 1.5? Government Information Quarterly, 30(4), 498–507. Scholar
  21. Scott, J. K. (2006). “E” the people: Do U.S. municipal government web sites support public involvement? Public Administration Review, 66(3), 341–353. Scholar
  22. SKL. (2012). Information till alla? -en uppföljande granskning 2012. Stockholm: SKL.Google Scholar
  23. SKL. (2013). Information till alla? -en uppföljande granskning 2013. Stockholm: SKL.Google Scholar
  24. SKL. (2014). Information till alla? -en uppföljande granskning av kommunerna 2014. Stockholm: SKL.Google Scholar
  25. SKL. (2015). Information till alla? -en uppföljande granskning 2015. Stockholm: SKL.Google Scholar
  26. Sobaci, M. Z., & Eryigit, K. Y. (2015). Determinants of e-democracy adoption in Turkish municipalities: An analysis for spatial diffusion effect. Local Government Studies, 41(3), 445–469. Scholar
  27. Statistics Sweden. (2017). Data set. Retrieved: 20170515.Google Scholar
  28. Stromer-Galley, J. (2014). Presidential campaigning in the Internet age. Retrieved May 5, 2017 from
  29. Swedish Post and Telecom Authority. (2016). PTS bredbandskartläggning 2015 - PTS-ER-2016:10.Google Scholar
  30. Vaccari, C. (2013). Digital politics in western democracies: A comparative study. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social SciencesMid SwedenUniversitySundsvallSweden

Personalised recommendations