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 findings:

-          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 new leadership.

-          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 these challenges.

-          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.

* Here is the link to the research in Spanish version: 

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