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Ovum: Gov't must use Facebook, Twitter to engage with public

Lisa Banks | March 23, 2011
Both federal and state governments must utilise social media tools to engage with the public, Ovum has warned.

SYDNEY, 23 MARCH 2011 - Both federal and state governments must utilise social media tools to engage with the public, Ovum has warned.

Speaking at an Ovum event in Sydney, analyst Kevin Noonan said the use of social media services such as Twitter during recent natural disasters showed the impact of mobile web adoption.

"We can start assuming that mobile broadband and smart technology moving with consumers is part for the fabric of dealing with consumers today," Noonan said, citing the use of Facebook and Twitter by the Queensland police communicate with the public during the floods.

"This is an appropriate and quick response to a widespread problem," he said.

Many Australian states face a change in power in upcoming elections, and Noonan warned that CIOs in government agencies would probably face a juggling act in terms of responsibilities over the coming months.

"All states and the federal government will have to balance the delivery expectations, particularly where there is a change in government, while on the other hand, looking at the agenda," he said.

"When you look nationally, you see a lot of political churn that's going to drive innovation in IT."

Rather than viewing Gov 2.0 as a burden, Noonan said CIOs must view social media as a vital way to communicate with the public.

"This whole question of social media and how to engage with the public and is one that is sitting there," Noonan said. "[Government CIOs should be] thinking about Gov 2.0 as delivering on real problems rather than putting information out there and looking at a solution rather than a problem."

The normalcy now attached to mobile broadband and social networks is yet to be embraced by Australian government agencies, he said, with many still trying to work out how to do so while maintaining government process.

"We are seeing a community that is more and more using mobile broadband as its normal way of communicating in the world and there's this question of how can government step up to the mark and deliver these services."

 

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