Saturday, October 31, 2015

Potential use of Mobile technology

Mobile technology is growing at a large scale with expansion of smart phones. Presently, this has empowered people by way of ease of access to various facilities. More than 1.91 billion people are using smartphones across the world. The users count is going to increase to 2.16 billion in 2016 and 2.56 billion in 2018.1 The inexpensive smart phones are increasing the number of internet users. This has resulted in to emerging exponential growth of m-commerce.  Now, it is very easy to download apps for health, agriculture, education, business, news, travel, tourism, games, books, entertainment and all kinds of marketing. M-banking has further eased the commercial operations. However, its potential use in better community development and efficient governance (may be called as m-governance) is yet to be fully utilized. Some of the governance issues can be easily resolved with mobile technology coupled with social media tools:

  • A person walking in streets notices path hole or broken road or accumulation of garbage or any other civic matters can report it using SeeClickFix app. It is user friendly with geotag facility. The app has inbuilt facility to forward your complaint to appropriate Government authority for necessary action. Georgia state administration is using similar apps.
  • White house is using Facebook, twitter, Instagram and YouTube to connect with people. Various government departments are using it for feedback purposes only. However, its potential use could have been to access to service delivery. The service response time can be significantly reduced if these social media tools are also used as button to switching over to service sites of Government.
  • In education and health sector it has been very useful. The students are getting timely notification about assignments, scheduled examinations and report about any emergency. The people are getting timely health checkup notifications.
  • Alerts on flight current status and train running status are saving a lot of time.
  • The weather report in mobile is helping farmers in protecting their crops.
India is the second largest market in mobile connections in the world. It has a lot of potential for m-governance. Government of India has started using mobile technology under Digital India programme in service delivery like maadhhar, eaadhaar and digital life certificate (Jeevan Praman). However, a lot of transformation is required for m-governance.

Friday, October 30, 2015

                Use of Social Media in Disaster Response 

With the advent of Social Media technologies, scope and potential of disaster response  & recovery activities has tremendously widened. Be it an earthquake,  storm or a flash flood, people around the world have started using Facebook, Twitter or You tube to complement other traditional modes of communication like Radio, TV or cell phones.

Although people had been using social media in individual disaster cases since advent of Facebook yet, watershed moment can in the shape of earthquake in Haiti in 2010 when pictures of devastation and utter misery were posted on social media that created a wave of awareness and sympathy in people. International Red Cross was able to collect $5m in donations in days. Though in time of Hurricane Katrina, Facebook was available yet people did not turn on to it as use of Facebook for disaster handling was not popular in those days . During times of Hurricane Sandy, thousands of people used it to get help. At one time, users sent more than 20 million Sandy-related Twitter posts, or “tweets,” despite the loss of cell phone service during the peak of the storm. Following the Boston Marathon bombings, one quarter of Americans reportedly looked to Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites for information, according to The Pew Research Center. 

Following are the ways in which social media can help people when faced with a disaster or natural calamity:-

A. People can get instant and minute-by-minute latest update reports via Social media sites like Twitter. In this way, Social media has become the greatest provider of alerts and advance information to public. In 2013, Twitter started Alert service #alert to give accurate and immediate information to citizens about natural disasters.
B. People can get assistance from relief agencies during time of calamity. For example, Federal Emergency Management Agency regularly exhorts people to use social media sites to contact them when traditional modes of communication like 911 are tied up or exhausted. It must be noted that the response might be delayed yet the information is transmitted instantly. Several times, Social media has helped Government civic agencies save precious lives in this way.
C.  In times of disaster, when there is no electricity or communication network, people can use Internet through their cell phones which can be easily charged through DC Power. 
D.  During times of disaster, when physical infrastructures like road network or communication towers are destroyed, or physically checking on survivors or affectees is a huge challenge, social media serves as the best tool to get connected and coordinate relief activities. 

Drawing up an effective social media strategy and tweaking it to fit an emergency, however, is a crucial part of preparedness planning and disaster management. 

E. Aid agencies find social media tools best way to launch their outreach programs to help people in times of distress. For example, several NGOs launched an excellent response during Nepal Earthquake in 2015 by launching web page " Nepal Earthquake Relief Volunteer Coordination".
Here are some of the popular tools being used to help people in time of disaster.

It is a free online phone service that allows people to communicate via webcam. It may be preferred over landlines or cell phones when traditional means of communication are tied up during an emergency. 
The line was developed in Japan following devastating earthquake in Tohuku in 2011. The tool allows user to send text messages or call over internet.
Facebook Safety Check
Safety Check was launched in October, 2014 and  is great way of helping  community during natural disasters and gives an easy and simple way to say you’re safe and check on all your friends and family in one place. During the recent Earthquake in Pakistan & Afghanistan, thousands of people used it to tell their loved-ones that they are alright. 

Google Person Finder
The tool was developed in the aftermath of Earthquake in January 2010 that devastated Haiti. The tool allows separated families to reunite when they go missing in a disaster. The users can input names of missing persons in a central database which can be looked up through the internet.  

Following factors have contributed positively to this development:-
  • Social media allows for instant communications
  • It can be used to reach a broader audience having a global expanse
  • It can allow for direct communication between the relief agency and those affected by the calamity.
However, there are some weaknesses and drawbacks too:-

  • Older and backward generations are still not familiar with social media technologies and prefer to use traditional means like telephone
  • Due to lack of infrasrtucture, several demographics are unable to use internet or mobile phone
  •  Spread of false information or rumors can be fatal sometimes when refutation of the same takes time to get communicated to people
  • Poor and illiterate sections of population in communities are unable to use Social media
  • During an earthquake, social media cannot be accessed if there is no electricity or alternative source of power.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Case Study: Toronto Transit Commission

Case Study Summary

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) was formed in 1921 to take over privately operated transit services in the city of Toronto. It became the third largest used urban mass transit system in North America. It covered 772 square km and commuted 460 million passengers in 2010. It has 152 routes with 69 interchange subway. Its asset includes 700 subway cars, 247 streetcars and 1800 buses and having a flat fare structure. It has a motto of serving to the citizen with work safe- Home safe.

From the year 2009 it was facing deficits in revenue, budget cuts and was expecting budget cuts in the upcoming year with deficit rising substantially which puts a pressure on the staff strength, maintenance of the fleet of services and customer satisfaction. TTC was gearing itself to overcome these issues and serve the citizen with full satisfaction.

In 2009 TTC started expiring several customer dissatisfaction crisis and revenue issues. The image below demonstrates a timeline of the events. First in January 2009 the price of an adult token would be raised from $2.25 to $2.50, and student and seniors fares were going up by 15%. This issue alone raised 32,000 complaints between January 1 and November 30, 2009.

A year after TTC also faced a bad image problem, as a customer published on social media a photograph of a sleeping fare collector. The image went viral, and it was even covered by the local news. After this incident, TTC decided to form a customer service advisory panel that would present a report on how to better service its customers. In February 2010 customers posted online more pictures and videos of TTC employees being completely unprofessional. In this case was a driver that took a seven-minute break in the middle of the route while passengers were in the bus. This video also went vireo and was picked up by the media.

In response to the issue Local 113 president, Kinnear, blamed management and members of the 113 created a FB page to counterattack passengers. The page, “Toronto Transit Operators Against Public Harassment”, encouraged TTC employees to document examples of rider misbehavior. Some of the cases documented were grafting and littering.

In March 2010 another scandal happened, a bus driver had to be suspended for driving under the influence of alcohol. This same month Queens Park announced the end of the Ontario Bus Replacement Program, which had historically paid for a third of the cost of purchasing new buses.

By April 2010 TTC officially decided to place 50 supervisors in customer-facing roles immediately. However, in July their image was even more tarnished when some of the stations were qualified as “unkempt and neglected”. In August CSAP released 78 recommendations that should be followed for the improvement of TTC’s customer service. These included hiring additional personnel, a customer service plan, improved technology and having oversight by non-TTC stakeholders.

The last year covered in the case study is 2011, when TTC faced more funding problems, as the infrastructure needed a renewal. They did manage to get new and faster subway cars (the Rockets) in May 2011. But increases in fuel price, more demand for the service, and citywide budget cuts led TTC to the elimination of 311 positions in total. Finally, in June 23, 2011 riders formed “TTC Riders”, an advocacy group claiming to represent TTC transit riders, and their main goal was to oppose to any new fare hikes as well as any cuts to the TTC services.

Customer vs. TTC - The expectation Gap

What did TTC do and how are they doing now?

Since 2011 TTC has grown and become very active in social media. As it right now they have Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, which they use to communicate any issues, such as delays or changes in their routes, to their customers. They even developed a different Twitter page dedicated to customer service. TTC actions in social media can be understood as open two-way communication since they actively response to customer comments on their Facebook page. However, the use Twitter more as one-way communication channel, since their post are just informing the customers of different issues.

TCC also implemented other initiatives to be more open and communicative with its passengers. For example, they have a quarterly panel in which customers have the opportunity to speak with TTC managers in different subway stations. Some other information platforms and apps they are employing are:
·       Information Websites
·       Mobile Websites (smarter to make it responsive for all devices)
·       Plan your trips, choose from what kind of vehicle you prefer (Bus or train)
·       Next arriving trains (for stops or specific routes)
·       Newsletter / Text
·       Transit Apps
·       Departure times provided by GPS

 Their goal throughout time is to transform the culture inside to TTC into one that is more driven by customer service. Its vision and objectives are the following: Vision: “A high quality, accessible network that understands what our customers need and delivers what matters most to them.” Objectives:
1.    Safety
2.     Customers
3.     People (Teamwork / Pride in a Job)
4.     Assets (effective Management of assets that deliver reliable service)
5.     Growth (affordable expansion Program matches capacity of demand)
6.     Financial Sustainability (transparent business)
7.     Reputation (well regarded by stakeholders and peers, employees to be proud)

Customers will always have a high expectations concerning public organizations that are subsidized by the government and by their taxes. Hence, it is very difficult to meet high customers demands with regards to their limited resources. Social Media is a way to interact with the stakeholders in a better way in order to fill the expectation gap and communicate the effort and positive aspects of the service the TTC is providing. Rather than being very defensive about complaints the TTC has to communicate that they are trying to meet customer demands. Regarding their current initiatives and social media activities, the TTC has taken an important step towards a better relationship with their stakeholders. The TTC has been trying to be transparent, provide a better corporate culture and community and also to respond to their customers by various actions (e.g. Twitter and Facebook, placing 50 supervisor in customer-facing roles to gain better customer insight, Meet the Manager for more transparency). It is crucial to create a sense of community concerning all stakeholders resulting in every stakeholder engaging in measures for better travel operations.


Yelp for Organizations

What is Yelp?

Yelp's is a crowd-sourced local business review and social networking site. The site has pages devoted to individual locations, such as restaurants, where Yelp users can submit a review on their products or services. Businesses can also update contact information, hours and other basic listing information or add special deals. In addition to writing reviews, individual users can react to reviews, plan events or discuss their personal lives. Besides the site you can access Yelp via your phone through their app. In addition, there is a Blog and Weekly Yelp that provides users with updates.

How is Yelp Used by Individual Users?

To understand what is the added value to organizations who open yelp accounts, one has to understand the services provided to individual users.
Individual users who open account on yelp can review businesses, find events, create and find lists, talk with other Yelp users, make reservations, create personal profiles, make reservations and purchases, and have access to special deals. Most of the content generation on Yelp, is done by the individual users.

How is Yelp Used by Businesses/ Organizations?

Most information about existing businesses can be found on Yelp even if the business itself did not open a Yelp account.  Yelp authorizes basic business information from third party data providers who gather this type of information from public records and other sources. They also get business information from the individual users, who can add and correct information about local businesses. Businesses listed on Yelp can get reviews even if they are not verified by owners. So the first step before opening a Yelp business account is to check if your business is listed on Yelp. If yes, then you can claim the page and get access to the features provided by Yelp for business accounts:

Yelp for Business Owners

If the profile for your business does not exist, you can go through the process of opening a new one. Once you have added the information regarding your business, you will get a confirmation that Yelp has received such information and are going to review it. Your page will not be available to the public until the information is deemed legitimate.

SeeClickFix-Case of Kosovo

About Lokalizo

When we think about developing countries, having a tool/system that allows citizens to efficiently and effectively report issues to government is crucial. One such case is Kosovo. Kosovo is a developing country with the majority of population between ages 17-35. In efforts to bring an efficient and tech-savy system such as SeeClick Fix to the young population to engage in reporting, the Prosperity Initiative in Kosovo (PIKS) created the project Lokalizo.

Lokalizo  is a project implemented by PIKS and  supported by the UNICEF Innovations Lab Kosovo and Voices of Youth Mapping Initiative. The aim of the project is to utilize a digital mapping platform made available by the VOICES OF YOUTH MAPPING Project. This platform allows the citizens in the capital city, Pristina, to report issues regarding waste management, walking hazards and others. The web site as well as phone application allows youth to produce a realtime portrait of their community through geo-located photos and videos, organized in thematic maps. The use of the GIS technology for generating reports allows to automatically update, organized, and rank reports based on urgency.

Voices of Youth Map: Lokalizo

Further, as part of the project, the experience of the youth taking part in the project as participants is shared in the global youth forum at the Voices of Youth website.

Challenges Faced

The goal of Lokalizo was to create a new way for communication between community members, government representatives, and the civil society to increase the awareness about social and environmental issues which affect the community. In addition, it aimed to mobilize resources from institutions and the civil society to solve the reported issues.

However, as of today, the tool has not been used by any governmental agency. Despite the presentation of the system by PIKS to local and central agencies, they have failed to employ it. The main reason they state: We do not have the time and capacities to respond to all the issues that might be reported through this system in an effective and timely manner. As such, this system might harm rather than improve the perception of government by the citizens.

As a result of these challenges, PIKS has shifted the goal of the program. We are allowing youth to use the app and learn how they can report issues through the system. Further, we are presenting the project at different conferences as a way to raise awareness regarding the availability of this tool.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Social Social Media Statistics

Happened to visit this site today, found it very interesting and useful, so thought it worthwhile to share with friends. The site basically acts as a social media analytics and publishing engine that provides social media management services and deep data analytics for thousands of brands (e.g. figures or celebrities ) that are being marketed on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and VK
By doing so, it helps companies/ individuals monitor and optimize the effectiveness of their social media campaigns, benchmark against competitors and industry standards, and track the right social media Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in order to improve their marketing success and efficiency.
Key Performance Indicators may cover following aspects:-

  • Followers
  • Fans
  • Number of mentions
  • Reach
  • Social bookmarks 
  • Inbound links
  • Blog subscribers


  • Retweets
  • Forward to a friend
  • Social media sharing
  • Comments
  • Like or rate something
  • Reviews
  • Contributors and active contributors
  • Pageviews
  • Unique visitors
  • Traffic from social networking sites
  • Time spent on site
  • Response time


  • Share of conversation vs competitors
  • Satisfaction
  • Sentiment positive, neutral or negative


  • Blog posts
  • E-books
  • Presentations
  • Videos
  • Facebook updates

Social bakers offers one of the world’s largest social marketing & analytics suites mainly
Analytics:- for competitive insights and benchmarking
Builder:- an enterprise publishing tool
Ads: which optimizes and manages ads on Facebook and Twitter
Listening: which helps brands follow the conversations happening around their brand
 with over 2,700 clients in 100 countries - including half of the Global Fortune 500.
In addition to offering one of the largest databases of free social media statistics and insights in the world, it also provides user-friendly social media solutions that allow brands to measure, compare, and optimize their social campaigns with competitive intelligence that is second to none. With the only analytics platform that provides global industry benchmarking and local categorization in social media, Socialbakers is the most versatile, complete service of its kind. Facebook has awarded Socialbakers 3 Preferred Marketing Developer badges in recognition of its capabilities.

Since 2008, Socialbakers has grown from a small office in Pilsen, Czech Republic, to a global entity with nearly 400 employees of 32 nationalities, working in 14 offices across the globe. 
Challenges of Social Media for Pakistan Police:
Implications and Way Forward

Use of social networking sites by people of Pakistan especially its youth has grown exponentially in recent years, being part of global trend. The development has thrown several challenges to the Pakistan Police that needs to appreciate its implications in predicting, preventing, detecting and investigating crimes for maintenance of law and order. By integrating social medial  strategies  in its  methodology,  Police can  leverage  upon  the  opportunities  offered  by  social  media  apart  from tackling  the  challenges  it  poses.  Monitoring of social media content has become necessary in the backdrop of its misuse in certain recent incidents in Pakistan like the rape of a young girl in Faisalabad or mob attacks on Christian community after exchange of messages in Gujranwala city.  Police  hierarchies  in  several  countries  have  already  adopted a  comprehensive  and  integrated  approach  to  use  social  media  for  their advantage  and  Pakistan  Police  can  ill  afford  to  ignore  this  powerful  media.

Computers, worldwide web (WWW) and I-phone have changed the way we collaborate, interact and share information with each other. The online interaction is not bound by the geographical limitations and is entirely in virtual world. Internet abounds with sites that offer facilities for interaction, uploading information, pictures and videos for sharing.  Children and younger generation have been quick to adopt this technology. There are several implications of this socio-technological change for law enforcement organizations.  The broad adoption of social media by the public and the increasing effect that this adaptation has in police work requires police organizations to define and implement strategies for social media. This paper examines the implications of social media revolution for the law enforcement agencies in Pakistan. It further discusses the strategy to deal with the challenges it poses.

Social  Media  is  a  term  used  to  describe  a  variety  of  web-based applications and mobile platforms through which users can generate and share  digital  contents.  The digital  contents  could  be  in  various forms  such  as  text,  picture,  audio,  video,  location  etc.  International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) defines Social Media as a category of Internet-based resources that integrate user generated content and user participation. Another definition of social  network sites is as  web-based  services  that  allow  individuals  to
·       Construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system
·       Articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection
·       View  and  traverse  their  list  of  connections  and  those  made by others  within  the  system

The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site. Some of the popular social media sites are social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace), micro-blogging sites (Twitter, Nixle), photo- and video-sharing sites (Flickr, YouTube), wikis (Wikipedia), blogs, and news sites (Digg, Reddit).

Social networking services have become highly popular among the children and youth all over the world. They not only allow individuals to meet strangers, but also enable users to articulate and make visible their social networks. They offer unique opportunities in terms of extent, spread, reach, accessibility, immediacy and permanence. Various social media sites have emerged over the years as shown in Table.
 Facebook,  which  started  in  2004,  has  emerged  as  the  largest  social networking  site  with  more  than  1.49  billion  users  in  the  world.  If it was a nation, it would be the third largest. There are more than 900 million unique visits to YouTube every month. There are more than 645 million active registered users on twitter.
LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network has more than 250 million users. Google has more than 540 million Google + users.
There are reports that efforts are  being  made  by Baloch separatists to network and  revive  militancy  using  social  media.  While Blackberry Messenger (BBM) played an alarming role in the spread of series of riots in London in August 2011, at the same time Twitter was used to mobilize community clean-up operations . In  December  2012,  during  the  demonstrations  related  to gang rape case in Faisalabad, protestors and journalists used social media in  an  unprecedented  way.  The event also  witnessed  flash  mob mobilization using  social  media.  Police  realized  its  shortcomings  in analyzing  and  generating  pre-emptive  actionable  intelligence  from the  rapid  online  postings  as  the  protests  were  escalating. Circulation of an old fake video and rumors about the violence through social media contributed to the fueling of riots. A large number of fake social media accounts of famous personalities, including that of President of Pakistan, have also been bothering the law enforcement agencies. Notwithstanding  the  challenges,  the  unique  characteristics  of  this media  also  offer  several  opportunities  to  law  enforcement  agencies. If  used  judiciously,  these  can  be  leveraged  to  harness  the  power of  information  technology  through  them.  They  are  highly  suitable for  police  to  instantaneously  connect  with  the  public.  They  can  be used for updating police activities, issue press releases, traffic alerts about congestion, special events, diversions, road conditions, crime prevention  advisories,  dispel  rumors,  tracing  suspects  and  missing persons,  emergency  notification,  community  policing,  etc.  They can also be useful in identification of criminals, their activities and locations. The digital evidences of cyber crimes or traditional crimes, internal  Facebook-like  social  networks.  A  secured  social  networking platform can be used internally by the law enforcement departments to efficiently connect with its own officers for professional information sharing,  human  resource  management  and  better  bonding,  as  has been done by Toronto Police Service. In Australia, New South Wales Police  have  added  ‘Project  Eyewatch’  to  their  social  media  strategy under which police work together with their local communities to find solutions to local issues.
Law  enforcement  agencies  can  afford  to  ignore  social  media  but only  to  its  peril.  If  monitored  effectively,  social  networking  sites  can provide resourceful, economical and effective tactical and actionable intelligence. Social networking sites are now one of the most fertile sources of criminal evidence. Social media monitoring and analysis has been in use by business organizations to find the market trends, sentiments, likes and dislikes of customers.
Law  enforcement  agencies  can  also  use  social  networks  as  a  source of information, pattern and event recognition, analyzing public mood and trend. Researches have shown that social media can be utilized to forecast future outcomes. Real time monitoring and analysis of social media can be very useful in unrest anticipation and predicting snap demonstrations. Monitoring social media will also enable police to identify provocative and objectionable contents so that they can be blocked under provisions of laws. Although law enforcement agencies have been late to realize the opportunities offered by social networking sites,  several  police  organizations  have  started  working in  this  direction.  In  2012,  Federal  Bureau  of  Investigation  (FBI)  had floated a ‘Request for Information’ to explore solutions for automated search/monitoring  of  social  media,  generation  of  real-time  alerts  and actionable information,  based  on  select  parameters/Keywords  . In Pakistan, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has set  up  social  media  monitoring  lab under NR3C (National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes).  Quetta Police is  also contemplating such a cell and has floated ·expression of interest for implementation  of  “Open  Source  Intelligence  (OSINT)”  solution. A number of free and paid tools and services are available in the market for monitoring social media. Some of them are Social Mention, Social Snapshots, Twitalyzer, Social Flow, Radarly,  Twazzup,  Addict-o-matic,  Cyber  Alert,  hootsuite,   Accurint,  Geofeedia,  Trendsmap,  Buzzient  and  Twitter  Investigator, XI  Social  Discovery,  Radian,  TweetDeck,  BlueJay  etc. There are software tools for social network analysis for mapping and measuring the links of people/groups on social networks. The approach, functions, coverage, extent, analysis etc. of these tools differ considerably. Since
most of them have been developed for business community, they only partially  meet  the  law  enforcement  requirements.  Studies by Human Digital shows that the social media monitoring tools, available in the market, have limited abilities to effectively deal with both scale and speed  in  unison  to  provide  actionable  intelligence.  A single tool is not able to cater to the wide need of law enforcement agencies and a specifically developed solution is required.  Social media in current times has become a widespread presence that touches the lives of countless people, including law enforcement officers. Certain risks and rewards face officers, as well as their departments, who use social media. Missteps in its use can endanger the safety of officers and compromise criminal cases, resulting not only in embarrassment to departments but exposure to civil and criminal liability. Law enforcement administrators must establish appropriate controls over the use of social media to increase its benefits for their departments and reduce incidents of misuse by officers. This can be accomplished by setting criteria for social media use and training personnel on these policies. In doing so, the potential of social media as a law enforcement tool that can help departments’ better serve the public may fully be realized. Also, Police can learn some tips and tricks about social media from the corporate sector because businesses have already encountered some of the same challenges in this new environment that police departments are now facing. However, police departments are not corporations, businesses nor even run-of-the-mill government agencies; they have unique powers, unique responsibilities and a unique relationship to the public. Police need their own models, their own best practices, and their own discussions and philosophies about how to incorporate social media to achieve their distinct purposes.
This is especially true because the police may have distinct and natural advantages in this area, and the imperatives of social media coincide in important respects with the perennial imperatives of law enforcement. Social media are a means of communication, which is to be found at the center of policing. Social media also draws upon communities and can help to build them; using social media is thus a way for police departments to take community policing into the networked age of Web 2.0. The promise of social media for policing is not to transform or add to the work of law enforcement but to emphasize the deep connection with the community that has always been the focus of good police work. Among the central tenets recognized by social media practitioners is that “to speak with a human voice, companies must share the concerns of their communities … but first, they must belong to a community.” That is a familiar, even basic idea in law enforcement; it echoes Lord Peel’s enduring principle that “the police are the public and the public are the police.” More than 2,800 law enforcement agencies in the U.S. have social media accounts, and all the Provincial Police set-ups in Pakistan have their presence in the internet. But still lot of spade work in terms in infrastructure, policies, rules and laws needs to be completed soon.

Netiquette for Social Media

Social media has truly become an important modern-day communications tool. People from all over the world have in varying degrees embraced this new technology, and find it to be user-friendly, cost-efficient and expansive in reach. However, while there are many positive and perhaps ‘freeing’ opportunities of sharing information there is a need to understand some of the social etiquette's or better known ‘netiquettes’ of this field.

Is it important to be polite, professional and have some sort of ‘good manners’ when using social media platforms? Absolutely. Sometimes we forget that this is just another form of communication that is not only quick and easy, but unfortunately undeletable. As the field further evolves, it isn’t the ‘wild west’ or as open and ungoverned as it used to be.

Current and future professionals should be careful what they post on their public and private pages. According to, “43 percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates.” That’s a huge number that seems to only be growing.

Some good advice offered by

-          Think before you share
-          Be appropriate
-          Know who follows you or sends you a friend request

We should learn to be people who “deliver class on a platter,” (Price 2015). Just because someone is behind a computer monitor doesn’t take away from the fact, that the other person reading the message won’t actually ‘feel’ something as a result of rude or troll behavior.

Here are some do’s and don’ts for the use of social media:

-          Don’t print messages in all caps
-          Do remember your good manners; the age old adage, ‘if you don’t have anything good to say, then don’t say it at all.’
-          Do be polite and ask someone for permission before you tag them
-          Don’t be afraid to untag yourself
-          Don’t feel obligated to accept every friend request

Good advice: Before accepting someone’s friend request, you should ask, do you know this person, would you like to know this person and does that person have any reason to know anything about your life. (Arcolace 2014)


My experience with SeeClickFix

As I downloaded SeeClickFix on my mobile, I was very excited about its potential. It appeared to be a very convenient tool to get the problems of our neighborhood fixed by just a click. But, is it actually so ???
I go to Meachem Elementary school daily to drop and pick my daughter, who is in Pre K. It’s at 182, Spaulding Ave, Syracuse.   The road just in front of the school is in a bad shape, with lot of potholes. It becomes worse during rains, with water getting accumulated in these potholes.  On October 16 afternoon, I made a video of the potholes, created report by adding title and description and submitted as an anonymous user. I decided to submit the report as an anonymous user due to apprehensions about some risks that may be involved while submitting with name. Else why should the app have this feature at all? Nor there was any such assurance found on the app regarding privacy/protection of the whistleblower. Moreover I used a video for the report to capture the gravity which could not be shown by a single photo.
As I submitted the report, the next moment I got an automated mail from SeeClickFix, acknowledging that my issue has been successfully reported.  It was also mentioned that the following public watchers were notified:
·         City of Syracuse Potholes
·         NY State Senate District 50
·         City of Syracuse Mayor
I also forwarded the report to one of my whatsapp group of Syracuse and uploaded on twitter. Till date the issue has not been resolved (fixed, as per their terminology) and the status shows open. Only one person has voted to fix the issue. It’s been almost 10 days and non-response from any government agency has raised question marks over the utility of this app.
The reasons which I can think about this failure is that either the Government agencies take SeeClickFix reports very casually and are least bothered even to acknowledge or there is lack of resources with them. From SeeClickFix side there appears to just pushing of content to the concerned agencies through an automated system. There does not appear to be any attempt to seek feedback from the agencies (pull content) or compilation of any report regarding pending issues with those agencies. The actions available on the app such as vote to fix issue, add comment, follow issue also do not seem to work as others do not seem to be interested. There are many such issues of other reporters which are lying open. Though the app shows many issues which have been fixed, my experience is not very encouraging.