Saturday, April 18, 2015

Facebook City in Japan

     In August 2011, Takeo city launched their homepage in Facebook. This is the first example of Facebook city in Japan. Takeo city is a small rural town located in Saga prefecture, Kyushu area of Japan and its population is about 50,000 people. The former mayor decided to completely replace the city webpage in Facebook. In addition, he made city administrators create Facebook and Twitter account to communicate with citizens.

     In Takeo city’s Facebook page’s home, there are “Useful note of living”, “Sightseen information”, ”Business information”, “Municipal government information” and “News”. This home looks like general municipality’s home page and we can get necessary information from there. In timeline page, every morning an administrator writes weather information. Moreover, the city uses the timeline to disseminate information about city events and public safety information such as suspicious people and appearance of wild monkey. In addition, about reconstruction of city hall, the administrator directly replied citizen’s comments and the person who questioned appreciate city’s response. Also a citizen reported about landslide with pictures about the incident and the city administrator responded right away.

      In terms of citizen participation and collaboration, this attempt is successful because citizen makes some comments and officers reply to it. In addition, more than 33,000 people like the Facebook page. Moreover, the city also provided free computer lab because everyone cannot use Facebook. However, some citizens criticize city’s response because they select the topic which they reply. Also some citizens do not have computer device or do not use Internet.

     This is good example for active citizen engagement to decision making of public sector. In order to improve government openness, transparency and participation, it is important to maintain combination with traditional government communication and digital communication.

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