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The Government and Social Media

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

Web 2.0, Web 3.0 & The Internet of Things

The world wide web

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Source: How the Web is changing

Web 1.0

The internet, originally a tool used for the purposes of academic, military and scientific advances has become a major part of our day to day lives since the early 1990’s. As technology continues to progress, more and more people have started to adopt the use of the internet. In that time, the web continues to grow in Social Connectivity as well as its Degree of information Connectivity, specifically Web 2.0, Web 3.0 and now the Meta Web which consists of the internet of things.

Web 2.0

The second generation of the read/write web which became the standard in the late 1990’s focused on user applications and services which were used to promote social contentedness, user created content, media and information sharing as well as the ability to support collaboration among individuals and organisations. This brought about the rise of many of the social media websites we now use on a daily basis such as Facebook and Twitter and user-generated sites like blogs and wikis.

Despite there not being a formal technical specification by the World Wide Web Consortium, Web 2.0 changed the way in how web pages were designed, developed and used. A different approach in visual styles was adopted which included the use of gradients, reflections, colorful icons, an increase in text sizes, as well as the use of drop shadows.

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AI

Web 3.0

Web 3.0, also known as the Semantic Web can be described as a smarter web due to its used of semantics and adoption of artificial intelligence. The use of AI and semantics serves the benefit of knowing what content the user wants to see and how they want to see it, in the hopes of saving time and maximizing efficiency. For example, the Google  app on iOS and Android bring up relevant information such as news and weather, often times without you even having to search for it.

The semantic web provides a common framework which allows data to be shared and reused across applications and community backgrounds. Adding onto Web 1.0 & 2.0, Web 3.0 uses the read/write and execute, it connects existing data between users and connects knowledge.

Although Web 2.0 was a major step forward which seemed to provide everything we’d hoped the internet to be, it lacked intelligence, and so Web 3.0 was born.

Web 4.0

Not an entirely new concept, Web 4.0 is an alternate version of Web 3.0 which was evolved in order to allow the web to be adapted to mobile surroundings, it connects all the devices in real time, despite them existing in the real and virtual world. It connects intelligence.

Web 5.0

The next generation of the internet is very transparent in the sense that it shows us exactly where we are and what the next stage of evolution should bring us. While still in development Web 5.0 can be described as the environment where all aspects are holographic, including senses. This allows for the emotional interaction between humans and computers and as a result, we now interact with this technology using our emotions such as facial recognition technologies.

Information Architecture? Building blocks.

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IA and its importance

In short, Information Architecture (IA) is all around us, it can be described as the websites that we use, the apps and software we download. IA helps us form a foundation for user experience, it helps us understand our surroundings and find what we are looking for, both in the real world as well as the virtual world.

You may be asking, how is this related to user experience design (UX), and why is it important? User experience designers are using IA ideas everyday, through tasks such as content strategy, technical writing and interaction design.

The goal of IA is to:

  • Create a website that is simple and easy to use
  • Create a website that has its information laid out in a easy

Useful links

Revolution or Evolution?

Web 5.0: The future of Emotional Competences in Higher Education

Information Architecture

Why is IA important

Blogging

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What is a Blog?

What is blogging? What is a blog? Why do we use it? The term “blog” was derived from what was initially known as a “web log”, this involved a frequently updated journal in which a person would be able to document their day. This journal allows a person to share their thoughts with thousands of other readers and also allows businesses to promote their brand.

Something that was once only used by ones with technical abilities, the kind of people who  now use blogs has evolved to people just like you and me, this has been helped with the fact that blogging has become more mainstream and millions of people write on their blog daily.

Blog Vs Website

It is important to differenciate between a blog and a website, because many use a blog as their form of a personal website, it has caused confusion over what consitutes a blog. Part of the issue found is that many businesses and organisations use both, and it is vital to understand what seperates the two.

  • Blogging allows for reader engagement and are often utilized along with social media due to the ability for readers and end users to have a discussion with the blogger by commenting and sharing their views which in turn makes it a social interaction.
  • Blogs are more frequently updated, from users sharing their food recipes on their food blogs, to businesses providing updates to their services, blogs have new content being posted all the time.

Blogging for Business

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Blogging for Business

Businesses use blogging as a marketing tactic in order to gain more visibility in the online landscape. By doing so, it helps drive traffic to their website which leads to converting this traffic into leads that can increase revenue for the company.

Blogs also increase a business’s  SEO (Search Engine Optimization). By continually adding fresh content, one more page is indexed on the main website, this means that it provides one more opportunity for the business to show up on search engines and drive more traffic to the website by organic search.

Likewise, it helps an organisation to be discovered on social media since most blogs have the functionality of being able to share the content with other social networks such as Facebook and twitter, thus gaining exposure to a new audience that may not have been discovered yet.

Helpful links

What is a Blog

Why Blog?

Why Blogging is Important for Your Business

 

 

Social Media & Its history

Group of Business People with Social Media Concept

Long distance interaction with friends and family has been a concern for humans for centuries. We rely on communication to strengthen our bonds and when face to face interactions  became a medium that was not always possible, we began to explore other ways in which we could interact. Now, we are surrounded with many web-based platforms which, through globalization have enabled people from different geographic regions to socially interact with one another online as well as share information with each other.

Social media existed long before what we now know, with the earliest methods of communicating across long distances dating back to 550 B.C., which consisted of hand written letters which were delivered from one person to another.

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Early Telephone Communication

The telephone and radio would come as the next major step forward as humans became more creative with the ways in which we now communicate. Both technologies are still used today although their use has become much more modern as these signals are now able to transmit over longer distances and communication has become more instantaneous.

In 1997, a social networking website called http://www.SixDegrees.com was established with the hope of connecting people together through the internet. This website failed to gain traction in the early 2000’s because people still had a long way to go before getting used to the idea of publicly sharing their information with the entire world and as such, it was shut down in 2000; but it gave birth to the many ideas we now view as part of our everyday social networking habits. In our present day, social media has evolved to not only allow us to communicate using text-based methods, but also provides the use of audio, video and images.

Types of Social Media Used Today

Social media exists in different other forms and it is important to understand there are quite literally tens and hundreds of different platforms out there that exist other than Facebook or Twitter. These other non mainstream platforms exist for different use cases, some are more suited for business needs than others while others fall into more than one category. Wikipedia has a growing list of the social media websites that are used today and each one focuses on one or more categories. Blogs, wikis and social networking sites are the most common type of social media used today, they are also known as “the big three” as a result of this.

Business & Social Media

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Everyone uses social media in different ways, and it is important that it is used according to what your goals are. Businesses often use social media to connect with their user base on a more personal level such as sharing insights into their day to day activities which ends up enriching the relationship between the consumer and the business. Aside from this, social media is such a powerful tool for businesses as they can also use it to increase brand awareness, find out what other competitors are doing as well as selling their products online, all of which is something that cannot be achieved with traditional marketing and  advertising.

The Socio-Technical Theory

In the 1960’s while working as consultants at the Tavistock Institute in London , Eric Trist and Fred Emery coined the term social-technical system which describes the approach used to harness the people aspects as well as the technical aspects of organizational structure and processes to achieve joint optimization. This allows the emphasis to be focused on achieving excellence in both the technical performance as well as quality performance in people’s work.

In socio-technical systems, interdependencies exist between humans and technologies. Each one relies on the other in what is a complex symbiotic relationship.

Any communication system that involves the mediation of a computer can be classed as socio-technical due to their ability to bring people together and allowing them to capture knowledge, manage it and use it for decision making. For example, collaborative desktop applications involve human design features that support human coordination and brainstorming and these systems are designed based on the needs of the organization as well as its users. Social networking sites such as blogs, wikis are another example of a socio-technical system which enable rich connectivity and sharing with others.

Helpful Articles

Social Media: Then And Now

What is Social Media

Web 2.0 and Social Media (eBook)

Socio-Technical Systems