Government ‘Tweets’ & ‘Posts’

architecture-931070_960_720.jpgIt’s not just businesses and individuals who post tweet and blog about their lives, many government personnel also use social media for a number of reasons.  Some have their own personal account only on Facebook and others use their own account as well as having a separate page which represents them in a more formal way.  It promotes their political standing to anyone who wants to listen.

 

Is anybody out there????          

There are two main differences in the accounts you can have on Facebook, an individual would have a personal account which they can search for friends and request Facebooalone-on-the-beach-1357494k friendship whereas a business opens a page, this page doesn’t have friends like the personal account, instead it is up to individuals to make the conscious decision to like your page, which then subscribes them as if they were a fan. So unless you are putting yourself out there and sharing good quality posts you’ll never be found!

Social media provides tools for sharing much of the knowledge which is not necessarily formally documented, it is more that of tacit knowledge and by sharing it often provides a great insight for both the hierarchy of the organisation as well as others (Mergel 2010). Numerous representatives of political parties have a Facebook page or Twitter hands-1167618_960_720account etc and this without doubt helps to reach those people they wouldn’t normally be able to address.  Once upon a time (not so long ago actually) if you were wanting to find out about the different parties and question their agendas you would attend the local government meetings which were often held at the community centre, those of us who couldn’t make it for whatever reason had to rely on other forms of information such as that provided by the media, which is renowned for its bias.

Social media then, cuts out that middle man and gets straight to the people (or their PR people who are running their social media pages) for their replies to your questions, these replies are straight from the horses mouth, so to speak, not slanted in anyway which often can happen when it is noted by reporters and is then rewritten for the daily paper the next morning. It was President Obhama who called for increased openess throughout politics back in 2009 (Lee, 2012). Social media can definitely be credited for assisting in breaking down the political silos by encouraging the sharing of information and making these members easier to access and therefore I think they become more accountable, which can only be a good thing right?

Who controls who can say what on these platforms? Where does privacy come? Who decides it is Ok to reply to a question which has been asked on Social Media and include a recently discussed government document?  These are all real drawbacks of Government representatives using Social Media to communicate with members of the public. The World Wide Web is huge and policing it is practically impossible.  The tools available on the web means that news, good or bad, is able to travel real fast! This is something that applies to us all, not just those posting and tweeting about their political lives and campaigns, was we hit that share, tweet or post button the information is out there, anything which makes governments more transparent can only be a good thing!?!

Here’s a link to a video which is quite interesting,  I think its worth a look.

http://www.inthehouse.co.nz/video/39577

 

References:

Lee, G. & Kwak, Y. H. (2012). An open government maturity model for social media-based public engagement. Government Information Quarterly, 29, 492-503. http://ezproxy.massey.ac.nz/login?url=http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740624X1200086X

Mergel, I. (2010). The use of social media to dissolve knowledge silos in government. Accepted for publication in Public Administration Review  http://faculty.maxwell.syr.edu/iamergel/files/Mergel%20-%202010%20-%20Minnowbrook.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Is Size Really an Issue?

How it is…

First thoughts are that ALL businesses, regardless of size, should be using social mediatape-measure-145397_960_720.png.  It’s obvious….go out and shout about your product, use the platform to promote your product and spread your good business name, interact with your customers and reach new potential customers ….it’s bound to produce positive results, isn’t it?  Apparently it’s not that simple.  According to research, small and medium sized businesses who joined the flow of companies signing up to social media and began ‘tweeting’ and ‘posting’ have seen little or no results from their efforts.  Large companies, however, continue to value this tool and integrate social media into their marketing mix.  So whats going wrong???

Social media is very much about interaction and not so much about advertising what you want.  It is user driven, so if the user has no interest in your posts then that is where the message will stop.  If however, the posts are intriguing, inviting etc then this will trigger response from the user and interaction begins.  This can be a very slow process which requires patience and regular posting, few small and medium sized businesses have the resources to commit to such relationship building but that is exactly what social media is about….relationship building.  It builds brand loyalty which may not show in monetary terms on the bottom line instantly but customer retention and loyalty is often worth a great deal to businesses in the long term.

And then of course there is the other factor of larger companies being able to employ specialised team members who understand the latest tools available on the different social sites and are dedicated to this part of the business alone.  Often in smaller companies, it is the owner who sets up the social media pages and writes the posts, thus not maximising the capability of the available tools to their full potential.

 

How it could be…

Not all companies have a budget dedicated to social media, in particular small businesses and non-profit companies fall into this category, but that doesn’t have to exclude them from reaping the potential benefits of social media sites.  LinkedIn, for example, is a particularly good site where individuals post their professional profiles, this offers great potential for networking with like minded people and small companies and non-profit companies should take advantage of this facility when recruiting.

Small businesses are often operated by someone who has technical skills in a particular field but may not necessary be educated in social media.  Chances are there is a young person close by, either a teenage son or daughter or even an employee, who is very comfortable with the ins and outs of social media sites….get them on side and start building meaningful relationships with your customers!

It is important to recognise how social media has changed.  Gone are the days when people  would check their social sites as a past time in the evening, hands-1167618_960_720maybe even just a couple of times a week, but with the development of android phones and tablets people are now constantly connected, they leave their home where they were connected to the WIFI and their 3G or 4G kicks in until they reach their place of work which will then connect them via WIFI.  This instantaneous connection to the web gives people more opportunity to access their social sites, email, chat etc as and when they like, meaning that businesses need to be proactive and ready to respond and interact with their customers.

 

Some Observations…                                                                                                       idea-1019741_960_720

Increasingly I am viewing the social sites I belong to in a different light.  Once over I would log in at any spare moment and check what friends and family are up to. Now however I often find myself looking beyond that.  For instance one thing I have been drawn to is the way many large companies are increasing their reach of potential customers.  Many of these large organisations post a competition to win a prize of sorts and all you have to do to enter is to ‘like’ their page, comment on the post then ‘share’ the post with friends.  If only 5% of friends do this from each share the amount of visibility that one post would get is incredible and suddenly because those taking part in this are ‘liking’ the page the organisations reach has grown considerably too.  This is an incredible easy way to grow the number of people who are listed on a companies data base at relatively low cost (just the give away prize, as it is an incentive it should be exactly that and not just a $50 voucher!). Very easily implemented by any business whatever the size. If you have any other ideas how small businesses can use social media effectively I would love to hear, clearly it is not as simple as creating a page and leaving it roll!

Every time I research another blog it never ceases to amaze me how technology is developing at an ever increasing rate, so it’s understandable that many of us find it  difficult to keep up.  What is being highlighted is how important it is to not get left behind! Keep sharing!

 

References:

Casserly, M. (2013). Why small businesses are losing on social media. [Article] Forbes.com, 31-33 Forbes.com 4/17/2013 Page 31

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow…

Yesterday…..

My grandparents lived through a time where they saw huge developments; the launch of the car, invention of air and space travel, to name a few. I often wondered what inventions would be successful in my lifetime, but be taken for granted by my children, to the point where life without it would be unimaginable? It was hard to believe any such product would exist, UNTIL the introduction of the World Wide Web,  invented by Sir Tim Bernes-Lee in 1989 and launched a couple of years later.

oldtimer-605509_960_720.jpg

The world wide web was amazing!  It changed everything! It could replace your daily news papers, encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc but  best of all it was all accessible from one place, your desk top computer! Articles, websites and news were all published and read by the user, this platform, Web 1.0, was soon overtaken by what we now know as Web 2.0, named as such by Darcy DiNucci in 1999 but made popular in 2004 by Tim O’Rielly CEO of O’Rielly Media. The technical ability of Web2.0 enabled interaction between the author and their audience, encouraging feedback and participation.  It allowed people to communicate with one another, instantly making the world a much smaller place. Users determined what was important on the web and readily shared it with their friends.  The development of mobile devices such a phones and tablets made staying in touch so much easier, for this generation the internet began to be part of every day life.

 

Today….

It doesn’t stop there! We are now experiencing even more advanced technology.  Web 3.0 takes the features offered by Web 2.0 to another level, to the extent that Web 3.0 is also known as Semantic Web. Semantic Web technologies add meaning and assist the user.  For example, when completing a form, the program recognises this and assists by prompting you.  Artificial Intelligence is increasingly being utilised, allowing us to talk to our phone and give it commands, for example; ‘Siri’ on Apple products….this interaction between people and technology provides hours of fun in our house!  Artificial Intelligence also includes translation of languages, this is available on Google, finger print recognition and face recognition….all of this is happening now!

smart-fridge-hack-samsung-gmailWe have also seen the development of what is known as the Internet of Things (IoT), now this is amazing…It basically takes normal every day items and gives them he capability to interact with other devices and people. Fridges are programmed to identify when certain items are running low and sends a message to your phone alerting you of this, you can also scan products in and record their use by dates, the fridge will advise you of imminent expiration of products!  Although this technology is not commonly used yet, it is available and will most definitely be going on my wish list!

Image from http://www.d.ibtimes.co.uk

 

Tomorrow…

It is mind blowing to see how fast the World Wide Web has developed. Already technical experts are working on Web 4.0 and 5.0 technologies which will no doubt be as incredible as what we experiencing today. Below is an image which indicates the direction the internet is moving towards.  If you are anything like me you will be sat there right now in disbelief at how amazing this technology and its capability is…my brain is buzzing!

 

digital-thinking-ii-2-638

Image from http://www.slideshare.net

References:

http://www.cambridgesemantics.com/semantic-university/introduction-semantic-web

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/artificial-intelligence

http://www.theguardian.com

Anderson, p. (2012). Web2.0 and beyond: Principles and technologies. CRC Press, Boca Raton , FL.