Social media refers to web-based tools and services that allow users to create, share, rate and search for content and information without having to log in to any specific portal site or portal destination. These tools become social in the sense that they are created in ways that enable users to share and communicate with one another.
This includes social networking sites, blogs, micro blogs, video blogs, discussion forums and others.
Social media has a lot of potential to be used for governance purposes, but that this is not capitalized on in most contexts. Many governments are using e-government strategies and disseminating information through online channels, but not soliciting citizen feedback.
Where there are two-way channels, it is very unclear whether citizen feedback is acted upon. There is promising evidence on social media improving transparency of organizations and government ministries, but less evidence on whether this improves accountability. There are a few discrete examples of e-government working successfully in specific programs, but the overall evidence base suggests social media is not widely used as a direct route of communication with government.
There is even less literature on social media used to monitor or report on corporate activities or other organizations governance. In general, there is a strong assumption in the literature that internet access and social media will improve transparency, accountability, and good governance, but little evidence on how this is achieved. There is a reasonable amount of literature looking at the technologies needed to facilitate social media.
There is a large amount of literature on ICTs for development, particularly mobile phones, and on e-governance. Mobile phones are increasingly used as a means to access the internet, which has increased usage of social media sites, which no longer need access to a personal computer. A large part of the literature focuses on how social media is used as a route to political activism or democracy. In Plateau state social media plays a vital role in post-conflict, conflict management, truth and reconciliation commissions.
Social media has impacted on governance in the following ways:
Political participation: governments have provided formal online channels for citizens to report crime, comment on policy, or petition for change. Largely this is restricted to a small elite of internet users, and government websites are not popular. Citizens often use social media to organize between themselves for activism and protest.
Transparency and accountability: Citizens have used social media to communicate, report and map issues in society, which has increased pressure on governments to respond.
Peace building: social media have been used to monitor violence, which can support peace building, although media can also be used to incite violence.
Private sector: social media used by businesses can increase transparency and customer communication, as well as create new forms of leadership.
Social media in government is a game changer if the Plateau state government engages in it
On social, people can engage in direct dialogue with politicians, civic officials, and even entire government agencies. It also gives them a chance to engage back.
The government too can adapt to a rapidly advancing world but also to leverage the changes to their benefit.
Key benefits of social media in government
Social media isnt just a good way to share memes and keep up with whats trending. It can also be a very powerful way for government organizations to interact with the public.
Below are five benefits of using social media in government:
1. Save money: Social media can dramatically cut costs.
Instead of spending on advertising, government entities can now leverage more cost-efficient social platforms to raise awareness about issues the public needs to know about. After all, these are platforms their audience already uses.
2. Crisis communication: Social media has also transformed how government organizations communicate during an emergency, by giving citizens necessary information that will be of safety to the citizenry.
3. Citizen engagement: An engaged audience is a happy audience.
And when you keep the public engaged, youll be able to keep them informed about the policy and issues that matter most to them.
This does double duty:
You build trust. Social media gives you an opportunity to be more transparent. And when you open yourself up, the public will trust you more (more on this below).
You humanize your brand. Too often people forget that there are actual people behind agencies and government offices. Social media gives you an opportunity to show audiences that hey, youre human too.
In summary, for a government to be successful, Social media is an important tool to achieve such Success.