Thursday, April 26, 2012

Casual retweeting may harm your career

During the general election period in Korea, an interesting event occurred in Korea. A mid-level police officer who worked in the Seoul metropolitan police department was kicked out of his job due to his careless, rather casual retweet in the official tweeter account of the police department. He was forced to get out of his job because he did retweet a tweeter user's opinion that included some political point of view. Although he did it by mistake and removed it in hours, the agency decided to get him out of his job and publicized an official apology for the careless retweet.
This accident reminds me of a few things that may be worth to be considered. First, one must be very careful when he/she uses a SNS, especially tweeter, otherwise it may seriously harm your career. Second, the SNS's power may double up when it is combined with the power of media. Actually, this retweet thing might never have attracted public attention if it hadn't been gotten in the news through the media. In other words, he might not be kicked out of his job if it were not for the media. Third, the security issue seems much more important for a user to operate a SNS based on web 2.0 than to do a website based on web 1.0 technology. By the way, is SNS websites a place where no mistake is accepted?
The following website link shows Korean Policy Agency's official apology for the retweet incident. The website is the agency's official blog page.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Twitter and the future

At times it feels as if Jack Dorsey introduced Twitter at about the same time Bill Gates introduced Microsoft, but in truth Twitter has been around for less than six years! Twitter’s dominance of the instant news world is undoubted, and clearly evidenced by the fact that reputed news analysts and commentators now refer to Twitter as the sources of their reportage. Within mere seconds on any given day, trending topics are identified and the world is abuzz with the same emotions. Considering the fact that over 340 million tweets are issued daily, and over 1.6 billion queries are searched daily by over 140 million people, now seems an appropriate time to ask a very important question: “How will Twitter shape the future?”

Twitter has already empowered a generation of news junkies to have their headlines aggregated and delivered right on their smart phones and laptops, has spurred many a revolution around the world and has given many a politician an avenue to embarrass themselves. Beyond these, Twitter has proven to be a very sophisticated tool for genuine political discourse. The issues of the day are frequently discussed by opinion makers and policy makers alike, which affords an observing public to decipher the direction in which the world is moving. Topics ranging from politics to the economy, sports, music, fashion, pop culture and trivia are constantly generated and never again will an internet-connected citizen have an excuse for not being informed. Times have changed!

As election season gears up in the USA, politicians are taking to Twitter to address the pressing issues of the times, and get reasonable feedback. Through trending hashtags and retweets, politicians are able to get their followers behind them and analyze the popularity of their ideas; this is a groundbreaking innovation that can be utilized for endless means! Gone are the days when politicians were clueless about the veracity of their ideas; gone are the days when a great speech languishes on Youtube waiting to be searched out; gone are the days when citizens had no direct contact with their elected officials – Twitter makes all things possible.

So how will Twitter shape the future? The crystal ball is difficult to interpret but undoubtedly, more and more citizens of different countries will gain enlightenment of global issues and contribute to discussions on topics of interest to them. With the explosion of internet access across the world and the mass production of smart phones and other gadgets that enable users to access social media tools, with increased awareness of services like Twitter, citizen engagement and improved governance will hopefully take on new dimensions. Politicians will hopefully utilize these tools to better decipher the desires of their constituents and citizens will hopefully better hold their elected officials to accountability; economic analyses of complex issues will hopefully be simplified for the layman to understand and more revolutions will hopefully be sparked in the darkest corners of the earth.

Of the existing social networking services, Twitter seems strongly positioned to foster concision while being explicit, protect privacy while being accessible, and ensure continuity of important discourses without crowding out the multiplicity of ideas. The possibilities are endless; we can only ride this wave as long as it lasts and hope that the future is as bright as it promises to be! Go planet!  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Waiting for Secretary of State Clinton and her speech

The endless line surprised me enough when I got to the Quad. The weather was not so good to stay in the line waiting for Secretary Clinton and her speech. After one and half hours of waiting, I saw the door's closing outside at 11:20. I saw many who weren't allowed to get into there were a bit frustrated. However, her speech which I saw on the net was wonderful and impressive enough for me to soothe my disappointment. 
What especially impressed me among her speech were her balanced insight on various global issues and her attitude toward those issues. She definitely has the skills to impress people through her speech. And I was very relieved to know that one of the most promising American politicians has such sound and well-balanced ideas on very difficult global issues, such as climate changes, human rights, spreading democracy, deficit problems and so on. Also, she was not reluctant to confess that America makes mistakes, and to say that Americans must ask themselves what they can do better and how they should behave. So beautiful speech. I think she also talked briefly about the importance and power of media(I believe she mentioned blog and Twitter) and suggested that we should take part in the flow of the moment(or information? I'm not so sure). 
That she recommended the student try to serve in the field of public service also makes me like her speech even better. :) 
The last part of the speech gave me something I want to keep in mind. She suggested that we be evidence-based(or reality based) people. It sounds like common sense,  but then we all know it's a kind of characteristic that hard to keep holding.  
After all, it was a pleasing experience to have a chance to see her ideas and was quite refreshing while feeling some pressure on the burden of schoolworks as the end of the semester's coming. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Social media and corruption

Last Saturday, the Times published a story on corruption in Walmart Mexico. The impressive growth of Walmart in Mexico is, as the report shows, a direct result of bribery paid to Mexican officials (over $24 million dollarS). 

How does social media fit here? People yesterday were trying to figure out who were the Mexican officials that benefited from the bribes. And LinkedIn came in handy. Somebody found the LinkedIn profile of one of Walmart's top excecutives in Mexico who happens to be the brother of Mexico City's mayor, Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon.

We know he works for Walmart and he is the brother of the mayor because that is the only information on his LinkedIn profile. However, the account has only one contact and no past jobs or any additional information. Does he really work for Walmart (implying that he is involved in the corruption scandal)? Or is it a fake account (on July, the presidential election is going to be held and if Mexico City mayor's party wins, he will be appointed Secretary of State, so someone may very well be trying to involve him in this to make his party lose votes)?

These are the two sides of the same coin: using social media to expose corruption or using social media to create fake links between people and damage their reputation. It is going to be interesting to see how this story unfolds. As for now, Walmart issued a lukewarm press release but the government has yet to say something.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Social media to the rescue

The last couple of weeks have been tumultuous at different agencies in the US government. For the fourth time in as many months, Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta faced the media last week to state that the "actions of a few do not reflect the character of the US military". It sounds so much like something we've become accustomed to hearing. What has the US military done this time? A 2010 photo was published by the LA Times showing American soldiers holding body parts of suicide bombers in Afghanistan, and the top brass at the Pentagon is saddled with explaining how it happened. This comes just days after the Secret Service was dogged by allegations of prostitution in Colombia and just two weeks after information bubbled out of the General Services Administration (GSA) about wild spending and frivolity at the government's spending watchdog. In fact, the entire administration seems to be going from one crisis management episode to another. 

Crisis management is a fundamental demand of any administrative job, and as hard as a manager tries, it is difficult to preempt the onset of a barrage of crises. The best that can be done is to be ready to douse the flames as they arise and steady the ship when the waves are behind. A skilled government manager knows to respond to allegations of corruption with forthrightness and never excuse indecent behavior by any employee, because just like any hidden fire, it never goes away until it is quenched. However, facing the media to admit that allegations of corruption in one's agency are true remains a dreaded nightmare for any manager, and everyone prays that the media never finds out. But they always will, and as soon as they do, the whole world finds out courtesy of the 24-hour media cycle, the internet and those sneaky social media sites.   

Social media has ruined many a reputation; Anthony Weiner must have wished for those days when there was no Twitter to circulate the news of his indecent texting behavior, Jeffrey Neely and Martha Johnson must have craved those days when there was no YouTube for their fellow GSA employees to upload videos of their wild Las Vegas partying, and David Chaney must have cursed Facebook for retaining the 2008 photo in which he was "checking out" Sarah Palin. Social media really does make it difficult to contain a crisis, but is it possible that social media can also be an amazing strategy for managing a crisis situation? The answer is YES! 

In a recent discussion on the possible strategies for managing the GSA crisis through social media, the first suggestion was for the top management of the agency responsible for oversight at the GSA to release an apology video on YouTube and publish it on the GSA website for all to see. It would have been pointless seeking to explain away the behavior of the GSA staff without issuing a direct apology on such a platform which wasn't existent 10 years ago. That can be followed up with a Flickr or Tumblr site showing some of the other successes of the GSA or any other agency which might be seeking to manage a crisis. Through their Facebook and Twitter accounts, any government agency can make clear promises of transparency and increased accountability and constantly communicate to their audiences in real time. Press conferences will always be important, but they wouldn't be available on a 24-hour schedule, and they would include questions that no manager wants to be asked directly. Social media permits any manager to hide behind their computers (or smart phones) and communicate directly with very wide audiences any time of the day. The key is to apologize for the misdemeanor, promise a full investigation and bring the culprits to justice, and get back on the important message as quickly as possible. 

Social media indeed can screw things up, but it can also help to screw things together. So get on it, fast! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

the impact of SNS on the general election in Korea

Today, a general election is going to be held in Korea, and I found an interesting news article in regard to the election and the impact of SNS on it, which is closely related to the topics we have discussed in class. The title of article is "85% of the Korean population believes that the SNS affects their choice among candidates." What's more interesting to me is the subtitle, however. It is "Only 14.1% of the population trusts the information provided by the SNS." First of all, I'd say it is not surprising to hear that SNS has such an impact on the election since we already saw it in the last presidential election in the U.S. The concrete number shown in the article just got me surprised a little bit. I thought it would also be interesting to compare the numbers in the result of the survey mentioned above with that of the U.S. if it is conducted during the U.S. presidential election in this year. Considering professor pointed out not only in her article but also in class that the data accuracy would be one of the challenges of the SNS,  the second part, that the level of trust in the information provided by SNS is very low, is also not supposed to be the kind of thing that get us surprised at all. Then, we may find a very important point here, I think, that in order to increase the trustworthiness of the SNS as well as to let it contribute to making a positive difference in society, we should try to find the way to enhance the accuracy of data in the SNS. Severe punishment for distributing false information on the SNS may be one of the solutions  from the perspective of a police officer(me). For those who are interested, the full text of the news article, although it is written in Korean, is here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Say goodbye to Professor Mergel and all the classmates in Government 2.0

Posted on behalf of Lily:

How time flies, I have to say goodbye to Professor Mergel and all the classmates in the course of Government 2.0 because I have finished my project here and have begun to teach on May. Thank you for professor’s brilliant teaching, you made me more interested in social media in public sectors. Thank you for all the classmates’ wonderful discussion in the course. I am glad to be here with you. Thank you for all the guest in our course of government 2.0, thanks for sharing your insight and let me know more social media in US. I really appreciate for all of you. It is really very helpful to attend in this government 2.0 class. Good luck with everyone.