This is a course blog for the classes on digital government and social media in the public sector" class taught by Professor Ines Mergel at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. The blog posts include comments and ideas from MPA, MAIR and EMPA students studying the use of new technologies in the public sector.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
Governments as Social Media leaders
For any of us is not unheard that
governments and authorities are increasingly choosing internet and social
platforms as a mean to interact with citizens and improve their work as institutions.
The attempt is to bring the
message to the average citizen and give the latter the opportunity to be part
of the debate. Not only now in many countries people can send messages directly
to a politician or authority but can also contribute to the debate of ideas,
policies or projects where they can feel involved.
Several researches have talked
about a new way of governing, a new way to generate content and a new form of
citizen participation. In this line, the Interamerican Development Bank published
in June a complete study to address the emergence of this new online power which
is expanding rapidly in Latin America. A new player is emerging: the "Gobernauta"
(in Spanish). According to the research this concept refers to a new political
leader which is using social media in order to increase the engagement with
people and to enhance their feedback. In this sense, this study provides a
comprehensive profile of the Latin-American rulers in social networks.
Here are some highlights of its
-The ability to listen, to capture, organize,
draw conclusions and make data transactions, has become a requirement for all
sectors of the economy and for the design and management of better policies. That
is why Latin American governments are increasingly getting involved and taking
advantage of the potential of social networks and data analysis.
-There are not many public officials with
management capabilities and analytical data as they are members of an emerging
class of "Gobernautas": those whose talents provide a bridge between ICT
(information and communication technology), data and citizens. More and more
governments promote active participation of their administrations on social
networks, are generating data from what their governments offer and are
beginning to see the importance of a more active listening to what people have
to say in the construction of new forms to govern.
-The “Gobernauta” will be able to establish a new
order that is not based only on the power and ways of exercising authority we know
so far, but in the relations of participation and engagement trends that naturally
arise in social partnership networks and the added value from ideas of people,
respect and trust. It is emerging a viable alternative to the hierarchy but it needs
-Latin America lives an Era of Collaboration
(EOC) where governments are encouraged to promote complex processing into
various functions of modern public administration. The big challenge is to make
conclusions that come from statistical models and a bi-directional community in
real changes to restore confidence of the people and generate solutions that
improve quality of life. The challenge of "Gobernautas" is to develop
intuitive tools that link the analysis of data and a better dialogue with the public,
with the action resulting from it.
-Today more than ever the work of
"Gobernautas" is not having all the answers, but knowing how to ask
the right questions, gain credibility, strengthen links, connect emotionally,
persuade, argue and mobilize the organization in the collective resolution of
-The new public administration organization
includes citizens and their communities. The political leader of the new era
-the "Gobernauta"- must necessarily integrate to traditional values -control
hierarchy, discipline, efficiency, authority and predictability- new values
such as transparency, trust, humility, volatility and willingness to co-create
new ways of communication with people.