The goal of participation is to involve the public in decision-making process. Public participation brings many benefits, but at the same time many barriers limit its potential. Social networks can help remove the physical barriers of traditional participation.
This work assesses the potential of social networks as a participatory tool by creating a theoretical framework for planning participation in social networks. The purpose of this work was also to examine if and at what level participation is achieved on the social networks of municipalities by analyzing the Twitter and Facebook official profiles of three Slovenian municipalities. This work studies the point of view of the public and municipal administration via a survey in the case of the public and via interview in the case of local government about their attitude towards participation, social networks and participation on social networks. The purpose was to examine whether citizens and the municipal administration give equal importance to participation done through the social network.
With the creation of a theoretical framework, it was found that social networks can be used as a participatory tool, but the analysis of the social network profiles of municipalities showed that they are not used in this way in practice.
This work can serve as a basis for municipalities to plan a participation strategy on social networks and, based on the results of interviews and surveys, develop a participation strategy that will achieve the best participation results according to the wishes and expectations of the public.