“Social media are platforms that connect people and allow them to engage, for example, Facebook, micro-blogs like Twitter, Wikis, Podcasts and Discussion forums. They can allow targeted organization dialogue and sharing. Comments and links may also be shared.
The Zimbabwe government mostly uses interactive websites and Facebook for its agencies. Ministry Of Education Sport and Culture and The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority are examples of government’s arms available on Facebook. Promotion of government information services is augmented by the use of such media. The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has been mandated with marketing the country as a tourism destination and their availability on Facebook is instrumental in disseminating issues like cultural, upcoming events, places to visit information to both local and international publics.
Advantages of using social media include the fact that ,they facilitate government agencies interaction directly with their audiences without the encumbrances of going through mainstream media. Agencies do not have to struggle to get coverage, they create it themselves. This gives them greater control of their communications needs. Citizens engagement is also increased.
National emergency messaging is facilitated by social media. The general public is warned of impending natural disasters in time. Necessary precautions are taken to minimize casualties or avoid them altogether.
Social media expand outreach capabilities of branches of government. In places where non-electronic media like flyers and newsletters cannot be conveniently distributed, wikis, podcasts and facebook may be used. Ability to interact with and serve the public has been increased. There are opportunities for everyone to leave a comment, make a suggestion or ask a question and relevant people and or authority can respond on the Zimbabwe government interactive websites .It is now possible for individuals to look for job openings on these sites. Using social media is faster and convenient for the public in terms of sending and receiving information. In the near future, it is possible that our government will adopt online renewal of passports and licenses.
Interagency and intergovernmental networking sites also promote co-operation across governments. Internal sites establish connections across traditionally geographically dispersed organizations.
Social media respects learning styles of various individuals. Some prefer audio, some video while others like to read.
It is becoming more and more clear that transaction costs of bringing people together to discuss, facilitate and implement policy are approaching zero because of the low costs involved. As such ,it is becoming more and more clear that social media are important in our societies and will continue to expand in usage as greater numbers of people become acquainted with them.” – Betwell Moyo – Gweru, Zimbabwe