With our new way of communicating through digital applications and technology the government is totally ready to progress into an e-government, joining arms with their colleagues and publics. This type of government is one that partners with civilians, embraces the culture of transparency, welcomes the notions of openness and anti-corruption, breaks down information silos and allows systems, processes and departments to connect and work together. Ines Megel a social media expert expressed that social media has the power to eliminate “knowledge silos” and disrupt old hierarchical governmental structures, seeing that it’s purpose, what it was created to do, encourages social communication and confronts long established “need to know” data-sharing systems. What’s more, according to social media scholars Gwanhoo Lee and Young Hoon Kwak, social media can facilitate public engagement with a government however there are some risks and challenges involved.
Drivers and Inhibiters
Yes, I would have to say that when social media is adopted and implemented by the government there are some driving pros and inhibiting cons.
- Data transparency. What you see is what you get, wouldn’t this be nice?
- It allows open participation and collaboration between the government and society, creating unity, encouraging democracy and ultimately reducing fraudulent acts.
- Pulls down walls of supremacy and promotes the value of sharing of information.
- Not having the authority to audit information before publication. I guess this can be rather scary for governmental entities, as they don’t like to wear their hearts on their sleeves.
- Trying to find the balance and to understand the unease between transparency and need for control.
- Time constraints. Sustaining public engagement via social media takes time. Like it or not good things such as building strong relationships takes time.
- Communicating and collaborating requires all parties involved to be responsible and accountable for the who, what, when, why and how information broadcasted.
All things considered I reckon the ultimate solution to overcome these inhibiting cons would be trust. If the government and public formed a solid connection built on trust, social media will be released to function as it was intended to and both the government and society will experience a new era of honesty.
Government vs Private Sector
It’s not unusual to hear that social media is more relevant for private sectors than governmental bodies since it assumably discounts a government’s exclusive needs and objectives and enhances a companies image and awareness. Businesses have the liberty to trial a range of social media tools and to advance their programs through the analytical information social media provides them. Whereas Federal agencies on the other hand are to some extent less concerned with enhancing their likeability and more interested in increasing the effectiveness of their programs…“citizens like a government that works when they need it, but generally aren’t interested in fandom”.
The Differences and Similarities between Government and Private Sectors
- Private sectors assign funds for promotional posts yet many government agencies do not due to being a public service. It is their duty to provide the public with beneficial knowledge relating to their programs.
- Society does not expect government agencies to advertise official information to them, as they believe it should be freely accessible
- Society expects government agencies to be verified on key social media platforms like private sectors, so that they can gather information about their endeavours directly and not feel like their being treated as consumers but as civilians.
- Governments and private sectors measure their success in different ways and that is why is essential for them to approach social media acknowledging their unique workflows and objectives.
Lee, G., & Kwak, Y. (2012). An open government maturity model for social media-based public engagement. Government information quarterly 29, 492–503.
Hegel, I. (2010). The use of social media to dissolve knowledge silos in government. Deliberative democracy and public participation, 177-181.
Herman, J. (2014, April 22). Government Social Media Isn’t Lagging, It’s Different: And That’s Good. Digital Gov. Retrieved from http://www.digitalgov.gov/2014/04/22/government-social-media-isnt-lagging-its-different-and-thats-good/