It’s no secret Donald Trump is well known for his somewhat controversial tweets, which makes me wonder, does he follow government regulations for social media, or are his tweets verbatim?
Sometimes, they can certainly seem so, but couldn’t this be damaging to the public sector?
So why do governments use social media?
There are many reasons the public sector utilise social media, and with it, come a lot of benefits. Think about how often you see NZTA posts on your Facebook letting you know to avoid a route, or prepare for roadwork’s? Or Civil Defence advising you to batten down the hatches and prepare for a storm?
The public sector typically take advantage of social media as it is such a widespread source of communication and development. The reach that can be achieved is incredible, its no wonder the US 2016 Election was influenced so greatly by social media.
The US 2016 Election.
Lets back up to when Barack Obama was a presidential candidate. According to Government Information Quarterly, Obama was a strong believer of using social media within the public sector. In fact, a large portion of his fundraising and overall presidential success was down to his broad use of social media. With this in mind, its no surprise that 7 years on social media had a huge part to play in the US 2016 Election between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton.
Between the two candidates social media was used as a major form of advertising, public engagement and communication for each of the campaigns. The candidates and the public were both given a voice with a reach so great that it couldn’t help but be heard. Social media gave the public a powerful say in policy development, design and implementation. Because of social media, people who would not, or could not access public policies or information had a chance to learn about them and make their own decisions, it gave the people and the candidates a chance to make a stand.
One thing worth remembering about social media is that followers and fans do not secure votes. Future campaigners will have to remember this as it was made increasing evident throughout this election that social media will remain an essential part of all elections to come.
Lets look at one of the reasons social media has become so effective.
Transparency & Anti Corruption
The idea behind transparency is to allow everyone access to agreed levels of knowledge, for example, the Obama administration made vast amounts of government data available through data.gov as a way to increase transparency and knowledge sharing and in return, reduce the levels of corruption.
According to Government Information Quarterly, giving the people the right to access government information is regarded as essential to democratic participation, which also plays a large part in reducing corruption.
Government Information Quarterly also believe the key to anti corruption is to create transparency by promoting good governance and reducing the potential for corrupt behaviours. One way to achieve this is to reinforce and strengthen relationships between the government and its citizens – trust goes a long way.
The following list are all ways in which transparency and anti corruption via good governance can be achieved.
- Equity and Inclusiveness
- Effectiveness and Efficiency
Can the public sector control social media?
In short, yes they can – to a degree. The public sector generally holds some sort of handbook or policy for use of social media. The handbook typically indicates the proper use of social media, restrictions, how to create an effective online presence, as well as maintaining security at all times.
Check out the US Army’s Social Media Handbook for more information. Even if an organization doesn’t have a specific handbook, there’s usually some general do’s and don’ts that should to be followed, this goes the same for social media within the private sector too. Failure to follow these rules, can lead to disciplinary action from both the public and private sector.
There are generally some rules or regulations about what you can post, how you post it and where, certain measures must be taken to ensure safe and sensible behaviour is enforced and encouraged.
Let’s not forget that with social media, we have an incredibly effective and increasingly powerful tool at our fingertips which can be used as the centre of brilliance, or equally, if in the wrong hands, to start a war.
Images have been obtained from Pixabay, and are free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0.