The Government is doing it too!

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Src: Social Media & Government

Social media has rapidly become the default way in which people use to read news stories, have a conversation with their friends/family and is now also being used as a way to promote oneself to the world and prospective employers.

This has led to other entities such as the government and its agencies to jump on the bandwagon of promoting themselves and interacting with the general population.

Social Media Adoption Stages For Governments

Taking into consideration the possible countless number of processes and procedures that must be strictly followed, it seems as though adopting social media can be a huge gamble for the government and its agencies. Strict guidelines are enforced and must be followed by each public servant before they contemplate speaking up on the social media outlets, and despite this hurdle, the number of social media adopters as well as Information and Communications Technology (ICT) use in the public sector continues to grow.

Stage 1: Experimentation

This stage involves a departure from the existing norms surrounding social media laws and regulations, social media use is experimented on outside of the usually acceptable guidelines.

Stage 2: Constructive Chaos

Social media practices have started to differ between audiences within the organisation and different versions of technology are now being used. This is a result of the different activities that each person undertakes while using social media. Eventually, the Government will look at minimizing this sort of variation and will begin to control how the technology is being used in order to reduce any potential problems that it may be currently creating. To put it simply, standardized rules will be put into place to guide the public servants on how to use social media according to the Governments way.

Stage 3: Institutionalization 

By this stage, all differences in usage of the technology have been removed and a new standard has been set across the departments. Despite this effort though, ICT is ever changing, evolving while new elements are introduced each time and because of this, complete institutionalization cannot be achieved.

While this this type of formalization introduces a slower rate of change together with reduced experimentation, it provides a few vital benefits.

It creates predictability in the way their ICT and social media is used, which reduces problems within the organization, particularly those involving the privacy of information.

Secondly, the existence of standardized rules allows everyone to be adequately trained by providing them with the same support, documentation and other help systems.

Why does the Government want to use social media?

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Src: Creating a presence on social media

Well, according to the Government and Politics Facebook page, a sample taken from within the United States house of representatives as well as the senate electoral races showed that the more Facebook fans that a candidate had, the more likely it was that they would win the contests during the midterm elections in November of 2010.

Why else would the Government want to use social media? The emergence of social networking tools has led to the modernization of internal, cross-agency as well as public communication  which has helped to improve decision making as well as the speed at which decisions are made, thanks to the technology which allows us to communicate with each other instantly.

Most importantly, the Government aims to connect with the public by forming trust and building a relationship with their citizens in the hopes that this will encourage more people to lean towards their leadership especially closer to the election periods. By building an online presence, the government is hoping to achieve a more personal approach to their politics by trying to involve the general public and in doing this, they are able to advertise any upcoming campaigns or anything that they’d need the public’s support for.

Helpful Resources

A Three-Stage Adoption Process For Social Media Use in Government

What Can The Indian Government Do Instead Of Banning Social Media

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