In 2012, the government created a framework to enable government agencies to use social media platforms more effectively. Briefly, it comprises the following six elements, which are elaborated on below:
Objective: Why an agency needs to use social media • Platform: Which platform/s to use • Governance: The rules of engagement • Communication strategy: How to interact • Pilot: How to create and sustain a community • Institutionalisation: How to embed social media in an organisation’s structure (The below text is a summary of the framework)
1. Defining objectives Social media is not just for disseminating information but also engaging with the public. Government organizations are also exploring how to use social media for policy making, recruitment, and raising awareness about public services. Care must be taken to allow people to communicate in their own language. Social media may be used for seeking feedback from citizens; repronouncement of public policy; generic and issue-based interaction, brand-building or public relations; and generating awareness about national action plans and implementation strategies.
2. Choosing platforms With so much choice it is essential to identify one or two key platforms at first. Based on the objective and the response the number of platforms may be increased. Departments and agencies should base their choice of platform(s) on the following factors:
Duration of engagement: Whether it will be an ongoing activity or time-bound with a specific purpose. • Type of consultation: Whether consultation is open to the public or restricted to a particular group of stakeholders, e.g. experts. • Scope of engagement: Whether it requires hourly, daily, weekly, bi-weekly interaction. • Existing laws: Whether existing laws permit the use of such platforms and what they say about data protection, security, privacy, archiving etc.