Sunday, February 22, 2015


I was too surprised to learn that nearly all American public organizations have used social media as tools of communication and civic engagement.  Because believe or not, none of Vietnamese public local and national public institutions uses social media officially. In contrast, with democratic movements all over the world, especially the Spring Arabs, Vietnamese state agencies used to unofficially block and censor social media as a mean of prevention. Vietnamese used to cross the firewall, change their DNS code or utilize other technical tools to surf Facebook or other social media platforms.

That was several years ago. Recently, some Vietnamese senior officials have opened to learn about social media, including its strengths and weaknesses, specifically the strategy and tactics to construe the disadvantages of social media to the socio-economic development. Many of top leaders have admitted the inevitability of social media, and officially using social media is the essential adaptation to the global and technological age.

To lighten this new perspective, last month, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has publicly said that the government should use social media to engage 90 millions of Vietnamese citizens. “You are all on social media, checking Facebook for information. What should be done to have correct information?” Nguyen Tan Dung reportedly told officials. “It’s impossible for us to ban it.” He added that the government “must give correct and timely information to guide opinion. Regardless of what is being said on the Internet, people will believe when there is official information from the government.”

Vietnamese social media users welcomed the statement zealously, not because from now on, they can surf social media freely, but they can get official information and communicate with governmental agencies. And they are looking forward to a near future, when all local and national organizations set social media one of their communication strategies.

--- Trang DANG ---

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