Individuals’ Use of Twitter to Discuss Freedom of Information in the United States: A Social Network Analysis


This study employs social network analysis to examine more than 10,000 Twitter interactions that include the U.S. Freedom of Information Act hashtag (#FOIA) to understand who is engaging online, and to what extent. The analysis finds evidence of a dynamic conversation online among citizens, journalists, advocates, and public agencies. Findings offer insights into how citizens are using social media to engage with government and one another in conversations around important public policies, such as government transparency, as well as how technologies such as social media can be leveraged to better understand citizens’ interest. The study also found a significant increase in tweets during national Sunshine Week, a vehicle that increases national dialogue about FOI, and highlights effective social media strategies employed by MuckRock and other advocacy organizations.