Saturday, December 1, 2012

New tool for public relations in the public sector

In 2011 the Korean Ministry of Environment created “New Media Publicity Team” in order to use social media as a tool for gathering opinions on existing policies and informing citizens of new policies. After established, the team opened official user accounts on Twitter, “Me2day” and Facebook, began to communicate with policy customers through these tools and posted many videos for environmental protection on YouTube. Some citizens retweeted messages, clicked “Like” and viewed the videos.

Compared with traditional tools such as newspapers, television, radio and websites, the advantages of these new tools were as follows: (1) it was possible to do customized publicity activities for specific targets, (2) it was easier to get citizens’ responses to policies, and (3) it was faster and more convenient to deliver messages.

But, the top-down approach of the government could not attract voluntary participation from citizens because it focused on notifying the contents of policies to the people. For example, the messages were about what serious problems are in the field of environment, what main causes of the problems are, and what the government is doing in order to solve the problems. Those did not show what citizens can do voluntarily and how they can participate in actions. Citizens’ active participation is essential in implementing policies efficiently and maximizing the power of social media in the public sector. Instead of delivering information unilaterally, therefore, the government should motivate citizens to join in using social media for public goals.

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