Seminar “Why do different digital public services differ so much in the response of social media users? Empirical data on the way towards a formal model”
On April 21, 2023, the International Laboratory of Digital Transformation in Public Administration held a seminar “Why do different digital public services differ so much in the response of social media users? Empirical data on the way towards a formal model”. The speakers were Professor Andrei Akhremenko, intern researcher of the laboratory Ilya Philippov and graduate student Vadim Egorov.
Speakers presented the preliminary results of an empirical study on data obtained from different aspects of the digitalization of public services discussions from social network site “Vkontakte”.The aim of reported study was to substantiate the examination of the barriers to digitalization associated with the rejection by citizens of certain aspects of various public services. The proposed approach stresses the necessity to consider (along with cultural, socio-economic and technological aspects) the specific properties of digital services themselves that inflict citizens` negative reactions. The speakers identified three key properties that lead to an increased risk of negative perception of public services: the “digital nature” of the service (the absence of non-digital analogues), the perceived (in)voluntariness of the service, and “physicality” – the relation of the service to medical care or biometric data.
To test hypotheses about the impact of these properties on the perception of various digital public services, two independent coders manually labeled a sample of mentions of government digital services on the social network Vkontakte. Using labeled sample, the regression analysis and exploratory natural language processing analysis were performed. Topic modeling by latent Dirichlet allocation method revealed the presence of the relationship between the properties of the digital services discussed and the contents of messages in the collected corpus. The regression analysis confirmed that all three properties of services under consideration lead to increased politicization of the discussion, an increased share of conspiracy tendencies in the discussion, and an overall increase in negativity.
At the end of the report, a qualitative interpretation of the results was proposed. Authors showed significance of the results in the context of the existing gaps in the literature. They also indicated key implications of the findings for the development of a mathematical model of barriers to the digitalization of public services
Laboratory staff, including the academic supervisor of the laboratory, Professor Eran Vigoda-Gadot, as well as invited specialists, attended the seminar. In the final section of the seminar, they asked clarifying questions and pointed to further prospects for the development of the study.