Government Knowledge – Social or Anti-Social?

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The Big Bad Government! The words “Trust” and “Belief” are thrown around as if they mean something in today’s government systems and hierarchy’s. It seems as though the more someone says “Trust me” the less you can or should. The government of the world is known for its wealth of knowledge and the secrecy that goes along with having all this knowledge. Society in general can receive a wealth of knowledge at the click of a button, however, is the knowledge we seek within our grasp and if so, how would social networks boost the spreading of this knowledge.

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Today’s post will be shorter than usual, but loaded with content, attention to detail is key here. The following questions will be addressed:

  • What are the drivers & inhibitors of social media being implemented and adopted within the government?
  • What similarities and differences are there between the private sector and government sector when it comes to social media implementation?

See, short but broad…

With the rise of social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the amount of public knowledge shared by the governments of the world and through public leaks have seen a dramatic increase. The knowledge shared by governments to the public aka “Public Sharing” is mostly regulated so that limited information gets passed through. This could be for a number of unspoken reasons.

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According to a Parliament Research Paper done in New Zealand;

  • – The majority of New Zealand members of Parliament (MPs) have at least one online social media account on the most popular online social media sites used by New Zealanders.
  • – Online social media influenced the 2008 New Zealand General Election campaign, and is likely to impact more upon future election campaigns.
  • – Online social media can facilitate better engagement and communication between MPs and the general public.

These general statements could show what drives the government to pursue social media as a way to gain interest to a certain political party. People with the same views and ideologies can connect with MP’s on a meaningful level and therefore be more open to the public. This leads to “transparency” – meaning that the government is more open about knowledge and sharing that knowledge with the public.

Governments such as this use social media as a tool to gain trust with their citizens. This being the main engine that drives adoption of social media use. It keeps the government honest, by making things public you can’t change your mind once its out in the open. Citizens also feel as though they have a right to know things within today’s need-to-know society. That however could lead to blockages of information.

Information as always can be transmitted the wrong way, misinformed people informing others could lead to a whole group being misinformed. Being the way that words can be interpreted it would be a smart for governments to approach social media with caution as no matter what you say on the internet it would always offend someone, especially nowadays.

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Similarities – If you look at previous posts on businesses it is clear that trust is a major factor in obtaining loyalty from customers, it is the biggest contributor towards success. Within business and the government alike. The way that both use social media is familiar in a way as they both need to communicate with people in order to engage them and produce some sort of response. The ways in which they do this might be different however but the methodology is the same.

Differences – Now, it should be noted that one cannot run a country like a business and vice versa, therefore there has to be a difference in their respective approach to the use of social technology. A business cannot divulge all its secrets or be fully transparent as there would always be practices that shouldn’t be shared or employee information that cannot be shared unless authority is given. This means that businesses have an easier time dealing with social media and what practices are right and wrong and the boundaries are quite clear. Unfortunately for governments the opposite is true. Citizens have a need-to-know attitude and this makes it harder on the government to keep everything under wraps. Leaks and such by groups such as “Anonymys” – a hacktivist group known to scrutinize the governments every move and make these actions known to the public.

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To leave today, as always a question…

If you could ask your government any question they had to answer honestly, what would you ask?

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