Assessing Social Media Communications of Local Governments in Fast-Growing U.S. Cities

Ruopu Li, Md Mafuzur Rahaman, Zhenghong Tang, Leiming Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With social media ubiquitous in our daily communication, local governments have increasingly relied on this new media platform for communicating and interacting with their citizens. It is still unclear, however, how to assess the effectiveness of social media communication efforts by local governments. Based on the Lasswell communication framework, this study proposes a new indicator, the Social Media Communication Index (SMCI), that can be used to compare and evaluate the degree of social media communication effectiveness among different cities. The index was then applied to the social media platforms used by the top growing U.S. cities. The results show that Orlando and North Charleston exhibit top communication effectiveness in social media. The study culminates in a research finding that the SMCI is positively correlated with the population growth rate and education levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)702-712
Number of pages11
JournalProfessional Geographer
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Lasswell
  • communication
  • e-government
  • local governments
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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