Paper beats ping. On the effect of an increasing separation of notification and content due to digitization of government communication
SourceGovernment Information Quaterly, 37, 1, (2020), article 101396
18 oktober 2019
Article / Letter to editor
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Communicatie in Organisaties
Government Information Quaterly
SubjectLanguage & Communication; Persuasive Communication
Due to the massive uptake of online communication, people receive countless notifications on a given day. Governments also send more and more information via computer mediated communication instead of writing a paper letter to citizens. As a consequence, governments are increasingly exposed to the risk that citizens do not notice or act upon notifications that refer to governmental (sometimes legally binding) messages. This in turn may result in non-compliant behavior. Through a vignette study in three large scale surveys held in the Netherlands in 2015 and 2016, we have investigated how the channel (paper letter channel vs. e-mail channel that notifies that there is a digital letter available at a web portal) influences the speed with which people intend to read the actual content of a message while taking digital skills and expectations of the contents of a message into account. Results show that the channel has a significant and strong impact on the speed with which citizens read the contents of the message. This means that there is a risk that the efficiency gains that are won by communicating electronically are lost in effectiveness due to increased non-compliance because people do not actually see the government information that is sent to them. Therefore, it is important to think of new ways to effectively notifying people of new information in an online environment.
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