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More channels for E-govt engagement

Jack Loo | Feb. 28, 2012
Social media and mobile apps are complementary channels for government agencies to engage citizens.

Separately, there should be a strategy for a (cautious) presence accessible to citizens where the learning curve can start, but also where damage control is relatively easy. I'd say the main challenge is to create an environment that is highly stimulative for dialogue and collaboration while avoiding undesirable consequences of that dialogue. Communicating via social media isn't always rich in context and misinterpretations or poor phrasing can go viral among citizens at a fast pace to a large audience.

McDonald's recently found out the hard way that it is very easy to become a worst practice. They created a Twitter hashtag to share McDonald's stories, intended to positively highlight the stories of its suppliers that contribute to their experience. They attracted the attention of animal rights activists and a wide variety of consumers sharing their worst experience. Within two hours, they withdrew the hashtag as a damage control measure, but not before they became the worst practice example very publicly.

On the bright side, they responded relatively fast to an uncontrollable tweetjacking situation. From a government CIO perspective though, if McDonald's was a government agency, there would have been a lot more negative impact and perhaps permanent damage to the evolution in citizen-government collaboration.


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