An Ideal Model for Virtual Communication on Municipal Government Websites
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Purpose: The purpose of this applied research project is to develop an ideal model of virtual communication on municipal government websites and determine to what extent mid-sized cities in Texas have addressed the components of this ideal model. Methods: A content analysis of the existing websites of 32 cities with populations between 44,000 and 140,000 was conducted to evaluate how well mid-to-large-sized cities were meeting the demands of communicating digitally with their citizens. Results: The results indicate that many cities were using sound communication tools on their websites. Many basic and common tools expected to be used were found, but cities had chosen not to implement many other tools, possibly missing opportunities to reach their citizens in ways most familiar to them. Conclusion: For this study, a benchmark was created of what cities are currently doing to communicate with their citizens through their websites. As increasing numbers of their populations access the Internet and new ways to communicate are created, cities will need to adapt and use these methods to their advantage in communicating with the public.