U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management: The Barriers of Implementing Social Media in Public Policy
AbstractGiven society’s interconnectedness through technology and maturing social media platforms, it is becoming increasingly critical for government agencies to begin shifting from traditional forms of public outreach to modern forms that can reach a larger portion of the public. The integration of the digital native generation into the decision-making processes of public policy is critical for a sound democratic system. This paper describes research performed in the largest government land agency, exploring how the public’s opinion, thoughts, and perceptions are weighed in the decision making process for the people’s land. In this exploratory case study, I theorized that social media has hardly been utilized by the Bureau of Land Management Utah State Office (BLM UTSO) in oil and gas lease sales because the Bureau is not technologically advanced and lacks the proper staff to take on this transformation. This hinders policy from being reflective of public opinion, costing the Bureau more time and money in administrative and legal fees. Using original survey data, I found that several obstacles, such as technological short falls, weak technological skills of BLM staffers, and vague federal regulations, play a part in limiting the ability of the Bureau itself to reach out and evolve.
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