Government and Social media
Social media has always been given a sceptical view by the
governments all across the world. The ruling body of any country
enjoys endless powers. It is the law making and policy deciding body
that affects all the citizens of that particular country to a varied extent.
As such, the social media becomes one of the appropriate platforms
for the common man to discuss these policies and showcase their
opinions and thoughts to one another. Platforms like Facebook,
Twitter have been like a weapon used by the citizens at times against
the government and at times in support of them.
For instance, the highly hyped occurrence of December 2012 saw the
active use of the social media domain. #Nirbhaya was trending on
Twitter and the issue of women safety was the most talked about topic
on Facebook. Google India too showed its concern on Google Plus and
the entire country was awakened to the happening via the
effectiveness of these platforms.
On the contrary, the political bodies have also been trying to use this
domain to its full potential. Be it election campaigns or the regular
public relation stunts, every politician now maintains a Facebook fan
page and a Twitter account in order to engage with their voters and try
swaying them towards themselves. Also, these new technologies are
working in favour of them. Concepts like Social Media Monitoring have
enabled these political leaders to be easily aware of what is being
talked about them and their party and what needs to be modified,
changed or eradicated.
It will not be wrong to say that social media has reached to new levels
and influenced the governance of a country in the past. The
Government has also realised this strength and many a times
witnessed its power.
Many governmental authorities too have tried their hand at using the
platform for the betterment of the people as a whole. In an effort to
enlist citizens’ help in identifying specific places where roads can be
improved, Bengaluru’s municipal corporation initiated a campaign
encouraging citizens to take a picture or video of the pot-holes they
spot, and upload it to the corporation’s website, and the corporation
would see that they are addressed. Now this is a positive step and
this social media campaign saw a lot of uploads as well but then it is an
overwhelming task to keep up with all the information and responses
that pour in.
The above stated example clearly showcases the love of the Bangalore
government towards the social media and their will in using it as an
opportunity to engage the citizens. Meanwhile statements from
government entities that promote regulation of social media, a ban on
the social networking sites clearly state that the government is into a
love and hate relationship with the medium. When there is an uprising
against the politicians or the government as a whole, the social
media becomes a taboo for them which should then be banned.
These examples and incidents highlight how government agencies are
trying to use the web and social networks to engage meaningfully with
citizens but are struggling with this objective. How strongly they are
being affected when a citizen raises his voice and how well the
common man can be stirred together by this one platform is to be