So far we have talked about what social media is, growth of the internet, the use of social media worldwide though blogging and the use of social media in business. So now we are going to take a look at the use of Social Media in Government.
Social Media has now become such a big part of everyone’s lives, that it is only natural that the ones who govern our countries are using the social media platforms themselves. In New Zealand, MP’s have been using Facebook since 2007. We also see the use of Twitter and YouTube. The use of these social media platforms ranges from posting videos of speeches in the House of Representatives on YouTube to posting tweets in regards to their campaigns.
So What drives the use of Social Media in Government? Well, social media is seen by many as a direct line of communication between those who govern us and the ones being governed. Former president of the United States, Barack Obama sees “technologies, including blogs, wikis and social networking tools to modernize internal, cross-agency and public communication and information sharing to improve government decision making.” Basically, what the former president of the United States is saying is that he sees a future in government where the use of social media is widely used and is a good way to improve the decisions being made as they will have opinions from the public about changes they are looking to make. This is backed up by what the Former Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key has said. “… your posts will be read by my staff and will contribute to our thinking”.
Another driver of social media is its one-to-many interaction. Members of the government use social media as a way to get information about either campaigns or information about possible changes in government. The one-to-many interaction allows for the information to be dispersed around the country with ease.
So how does the Government affect social media use? and How does Social Media affect the Government? Well, the government affects social media with rules and regulations that limit what people can do on these social platforms to protect one’s privacy, ownership rights, safety and security. An example of a current Act in the United States is the ‘Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), “which prohibits the collection of individually identifiable information from children under the age of 13” (J.C Bertot, 2012). These such regulations are in place to protect us online.
So how does Social Media affect the government? Well, first of all, like I mentioned earlier, it can be a direct line of communication between the governed and the ones governing. Not only is it a communication between the governed and governing, but it can also be a direct tool between government and foreign organisations. Social Media also opens up democratic processes as it lowers the barriers of entry for citizens to engage with and participate in government initiatives.
I think social media is going to become a big part of the way the government is run. Its role in government is already developing and it will continue to develop with social media.
Let me know what you think below!