Facebook groups and WhatsApp groups
in which they participate.
• 64 percent believe the group
represents the city in the virtual world.
• 86. 7 percent said they know the
• 90 percent said the group’s rules are
important to keep it working.
• 75. 8 percent said the group is
succeeding well in helping its members.
• 72. 5 percent believe the group
influences its members somehow.
• 68. 3 percent said the group helps in
solving city problems.
• 58. 3 percent said the group is
making them more interested in city
• 98.3 percent said they feel free to
post anything in the group at any time
• 76. 7 percent said the group has a
• 69 percent said the group’s
administration is impartial.
Figure 2 shows how members
interact with the group.
As you can see, observance of the
rules cultivates credibility and trust
among members, who recognize the
group’s sense of fairness. We believe
such perception helps in attracting
the city’s authorities, schools,
hospitals, local commerce/industry
establishment, politicians, unions,
and non-governmental organizations.
Due to the social capital the group
has acquired over the years, even the
city-hall press officer makes mayoral
announcements in the group and replies
on a daily basis to complaints and
suggestions for the city.
The acceptance of the group in
the town is very expressive, with
19,737 members (the city has 21,400
inhabitants), 56 percent female and 44
percent male, out of whom, on average,
• 7, 000 access the group
• 10 new members join the group
• 100 create new posts
• 500 comment on posts
• 1,000 react to posts.
The main topics posted are those
related to daily city life and some type of
commerce, as shown in Figure 3.
This is ongoing research focused
on refining the guidelines as well as
defining new ones derived from our
daily observations in the wild. Next, we
will explore the software layers needed
on current social network platforms
for them to be supportive of smart
1 The group needs administration, which is responsible for performing
housekeeping tasks as well as moderation.
2 All members need an identifiable profile and a connection to the city, avoiding
anonymous and inappropriate interventions in the community.
3 Requests to join the group need to be carefully checked to ensure guideline 2.
4 Each member of the group deserves equal consideration from the
administration whenever they intervene in the group. Fair discussion is
5 Political discussions should be supported but limited to the city context.
6 It is mandatory to maintain political neutrality at the administration level,
acting impartially in order to motivate the engagement of all political-social-economic entities from the city, therefore allowing the group to be connected to
the city administration regardless of who is in power at the moment.
7 Whenever necessary, administration must reinforce the importance of tagging
responsible authorities (or them doing it themselves), increasing the chances
of their participation.
8 To ensure compliance with guidelines, certain rules are necessary. The
process of creating them should be moderated by the GA but democratic,
wherein rule proposals are voted on and the majority decides if they will be
adopted or not.
9 The rules should always be accessible to members in a highlighted spot.
10 A post is a responsible statement in the community that spreads from the
virtual to the physical community. Therefore, authors should not be allowed to
delete any post, giving the chance to others to reply whenever necessary.
11 Posts tagging the admins must be quickly addressed.
12 The GA must be actively engaged in reading posts, giving proper feedback,
and stimulating participation in the group, so that group members feel heard,
especially in the early days of the group.
13 Posts unrelated to the city and citizens, as well as spam and posts that raise
privacy concerns, need to be deleted and authors immediately notified about
the group policy.
14 Member removal is necessary after someone repeatedly breaks rules and is
warned properly. Determine how long a ban will remain in effect.
15 Posts considered important to the group as a whole should be highlighted to
expand their reach.
16 Marketing and sales posts need to follow certain rules regarding their
composition (they need to have the price of the product/service on it) and their
Table 1. The Group Governance Model.
Figure 2. Types of members present in the group.
(do posts) 34 ( 28.3%)
(comments and reacts to posts)
(reads but doesn’t interact)
0 20 40 60 60