Learner’s Submission: Social Media in India

09/04/2013

“India is the second most populated country in the world and a country with the highest youth population. Therefore, in this age of technology, the best way to reach the population is through social media channels.
According to a study by research firm IMRB International and Internet and Mobile Association of India, around 60percent of Social media access happens from small towns. The info- graphic image released as part of the study reveals that out of the 111 million Internet users in the country, the active Internet users consist of 89 million and the total social media users are 66 million. This means that 2 out of 3 active internet users use the internet for social media. In terms of mobile Internet, the active mobile internet user base in India is of 39.7 million and the active social media user base is 32.5 million. Besides, it also reveals the leading social websites in the country where Facebook tops the list by 97%, followed by Google+ of 34%, LinkedIn 17%, Twitter 17%, Orkut 14% and finally Ibibo 6%. India ranks third in the world in terms of active Facebook users.
All these statistics point out that the best way to reach the masses is through social media channels. The Government of India is actively participating in the channelizing information through social media channels like Facebook, Twitters, etc. Several ministries under the government have their own official Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn accounts through which official information is passed out to the masses. One can simply follow these pages/accounts to stay updated with the latest updates. Also, various ministries also post information related to Job openings, Campaigns, awareness through these channels.
Government Sites in India, sometimes, are too complicated to navigate and find exact information. However, if the same information when transferred through social media channels, which are people are used to navigating, makes people’s job easier. India’s Ministry of External Affairs is very active on Facebook and Twitter. Being a follower of the ministry, I see new posts every day regarding India’s external affairs and this actually enhances people’s knowledge regarding the country relations with other countries. “We know where the country is heading.”
As per recent news, the government of India is planning to have special social media departments in all ministries to communicate directly with the youth. The Planning Commission is the first in the line as it has already submitted a proposal for creating a separate wing of young professionals who will promote the Planning Commission and its schemes on social media tools, like Facebook, Twitter and Google hangout.
However, with a country with 1.25 billion people, it is difficult to manage these accounts and that’s the challenge these ministries are facing at the moment. Hundreds of questions are asked everyday and most of the time; none of these are reverted back. It is a challenge to communicate with people on social media. While various ministries are already on the social networking sites, it is becoming difficult to manage the flow of communication with the public. The government will have to expand its infrastructure to fully utilise the social media platform. Therefore, the Government is now seeking for professional who will manage the social media departments of these ministries; generating job opportunities in turn.

(For example: At least 12 young professional will be needed to manage the social media department in the Planning Commission itself, who will generate/modify content to advertise about the Commission’s plans and schemes with the public. Currently, Planning Commission has around 5,000 followers on Twitter and 10,000 on Facebook.)” – Kiran Ashok Apsunde – Maharashtra, India.

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Learner’s Submission: The Importance of Networks

21/03/2013

“The importance of networks is given by the application, reflection and maturation of KM – Knowledge Management – in all sectors involving group relations in a democratic and decentralized way between public knowledge and sensitive knowledge, mostly in how to deal with new challenges and deployment between BI – business intelligence and CI – Competitive intelligence. Its importance goes beyond reception, connection and dissemination of information and knowledge.

It aims to balance and focus on challenges and unpredictability of future prospective of the society and the world through the wide dialog actually disseminated and debated by the networks. Another important point of the networks is the potential to unite the people and cultures regardless of country, as the communication has its biggest benefit that is to unite humanity and its knowledge in the search of improvement and solutions to continuous evolution and to ensure two-way direct diplomacy.

The access to information, the transparency of public property strengthens democracy and knowledge of the people valuing the individual. It allows people to interact directly with information being able to openly discuss it and helps to improve on a healthy basis the social politics, science and technology development. Social Networks has made easier to fight corruption through identification, connection and dissemination of knowledge with its powerful tool that is avoiding that knowledge suffers censor and misinformation by groups against law enforcement.

On the other hand there is also the risk of hoax. However, the same social networks can protect and instruct about how to avoid hoax using tools to provide search of information and knowledge. In Brazil, we have examples of flagrant from sectors in the media and politicians that were corrupted and tried to censor information to the public. Thanks to these networks, such groups of corrupts and criminals were identified. Also, abusive bills were re-discussed and reevaluated forcing politicians to make necessary changes to attend society according to the democratic state of Law.

True peace is constantly celebrated through the debate of ideas and sustainable arguments as has been occurring through networks. On a democratic way it helps to produce alternatives to reflection and meditation on conflict management and resolution allowing societies to auto adjust with no need of excessive State paternalism. Social Networking has been the main and most modern means for the people to achieve a customary law with harmony and knowledge, gradually reducing culture shocks by increasing learning.

Another example to be followed is the work that is being produced by UN in Brazil via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ONUBrasil that has been maintaining population informed and interactive with subjects that are not always transmitted by the Brazilian media, which has few informative and clarifying vehicles of information. The UN channel, ONU Brasil, has been of great importance emphasizing topics that surprised Brazilian people who sometimes don’t even imagine what happens around the world. My reflection is that through this channel, UN has broken a huge barrier in communication and a kind of knowledge that was far beyond people’s eyes and ears.” – Graziano Nardis – Santa Catarina, Brazil


Learner’s Submission: Social Media in Tanzania

22/01/2013

“Social media channels can be referred to mass communications which are given in the societies through various mediums. These mediums can be televisions, radios, the press {newspapers – journalism}. Society and country at large are much more affected by the usage of these social media channels.

The meaning of the Government refers to the body of persons given an authority to govern the state on behalf of all Citizens of the Country. It is the Government which ha the responsibility of ensuring the welfare of its Citizens. Since the Country is large and it has to reach all the corners of the Country, therefore; the Government is enabled to get information by the usage of social media channels. Tanzania Government has is providing very great degree of freedom to social media channels with the purpose of making them as a pillar in assisting the Government to the day-to-day occurrences and the Government easy to work upon. For this reason our Government uses televisions, radios, press, internet, Facebook pages, twitter accounts, telephones to get information and claims of the Citizens.

Social media channels is playing a great role in Tanzania Government; Tanzanians are now contributing their views to the constitutional review, they present their views to the Commission through mobile phones, internet, twitter accounts, Facebook pages, televisions by conducting debates about the Constitution and the Country which they want. This is much enabling the boosting of constitutional review, it is about 27,992 people visited the commissions’ Facebook page and about 6,909 participants sent views through chart message services. This gives life our constitution review to the good progress. These are the efforts taken by the Government targeting at boosting democratic progress in Tanzania and to its people {Citizens.]

Social media channels has put contribution to security to get substantial stability in the country. People or citizens use to report criminal events where they happen to particular offices or police and urgently taken into considerations. This results to fewer occurrences of criminal cases, this is an outcome of technology that has given birth to social media channels.

These social media channels are so important, this is due to the development of sciences and technologies many people are forced into in order to go with time and get updated. Many people use mobile phones, internet, twitter accounts, Facebook pages to get friends and communicating with friends and relatives live far and others not live far but aiming at linking business affairs. People perform well in business because of the usage of social media channels, business men manage to get the day-to-day dollars rates trough the usage of social media channels.

Tanzania  Government opting to social media channels as a medium for ensuring its citizens are well reached with their problems and claims that their Government supposed to do to them; it is right and very right time because now the technology is the heart of the development of any society or country in the entire world. The only thing the Government should do to its people is ensuring the social media channels come and people use while they are of good standard in order to reduce reworks, repairing, and increasing Waste Management. This can be done by the usage of high strategic intelligences, competitive intelligence as far as other countries do very well about this. This is supposed to be emphasized in all entry points of the country.” – Michael Vincent Mhagama – Tanga, Tanzania


Learner’s Submission: Social Media in India

15/01/2013

“The penetration of information and communication technology is going into deeper in public utilities. Presently third generation mobile technology is ruling through social media channels for entertainment, fun and public services. Present days there are many social media channels are using by various government departments at national, provincial and local level in a big country like India.

In a southern Indian state like Andhra Pradesh is using ICTs and social media extensively in various public service departments for interventions of welfare, development, empowerment and sustainability. At present the Government of Andhra Pradesh (GoAP) is providing e-governance services by using social media platforms through 62 prime departmental web platforms (list of links can be accessed from http://portal.ap.gov.in/Services/Pages/service.aspx). Apart from this there are many web platforms are using by other government agencies like water supply, local governance, town planning, solid waste management etc.

Social Media Platforms – Essential Services: Water Supply & Sewerage Services
The Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) is a single purpose agency to provide potable drinking water and sewerage management for 10 million people in Hyderabad city. The services of water board can be accessed from http://www.hyderabadwater.gov.in/wwo/. User can login through Facebook and they can get or require services 24X7 basis. Based on the customers needs through social media they will respond. Services through Facebook like complaints registration, online bill payment, tariff details, applying new water and sewerage connections, water supply timings and payment through electronic gateway. User also in touch round the clock with service provider.

Hyderabad Traffic Police
Coming to traffic management in Hyderabad through social media platform is giving good results. As India is witnessed for one billion mobile users and also 3G technology growing up many emergency services are using social media platforms especially Facebook as a good outreach to general public. The Hyderabad traffic police services are can get from http://www.hyderabadpolice.gov.in/Main/ImpLinks.htm and services can be accessed through mobile smart phone technology through the link http://www.facebook.com/HYDTP?ref=ts.

Facebook Traffic Management and Citizen’s Participation
By using Facebook traffic management through its page and body can login and post comments on traffic, road safety, status of traffic, routes diversion etc. These days it has become much popular because many netizens are updating traffic related aspects. Many citizens are commenting on traffic police efficiency, suggestions and feedback etc and they are helpful to give good services and grievances are addressing by authorities concerned for better services.

As 3G & 4G mobile/smart phone technologies are using by mobile phone users services through social media will available more in near future.

Coming to core banking facilities in various banks including public sector and state owned banks are providing e banking facilities. Many customer services are providing through social media platforms. Facebook is using extensively for customer related aspects like new banking products, social security schemes and health, general and life insurance policies. Many state owned banks are giving services to marginalized people through e platforms.

Direct Cash Transfer Scheme (DCTS)
Recently the Government of India has taken a policy decision to give government benefits through various social security, welfare and development programs in a cash mode. For this government announced Direct Cash Transfer Scheme (DCTS). Through this all benefits to poor and beneficiaries will get through bank account through transfer of amount. Many departments are planning now to use social media for this scheme implementation successfully with a transparency.

Right To Information (RTI)
Right To Information (RTI) act is implementing through social media platforms using by various government departments. Especially for the RTI information commissioners are backbones for implementation. Central and State information commissioners are using Facebook and other blogs to create awareness.

Conclusion
ICT and social media are becoming an integral part of an average citizen of India. As technology is giving options to use and get more services from government departments it is growing up rapidly. We can say social media will play an important role in each and every part of citizen’s life. There is no exaggeration to say the social media can facilitates welfare, development, empowerment and sustainability to citizens in this earth.” – Sriram Kannekanti – Hyderabad, India


Learner’s Submission: Social Media in Uganda

30/12/2012

“Governments that desire to perform are opening their gates wide for Social Media as a tool for knowledge and information gathering. This in turn serves as a basis for relevant policy and administrative responses.

The Government of Uganda is quickly embracing and taking advantage of new age technology and associated social media; Facebook, Twitter & interactive websites. In recent years, it is of no surprise, that almost all government agencies and departments have a social media public profile, such as Facebook and Twitter accounts. Government not only taps the voices and concerns of the public, but also passes across its news and updates on public activities and programs.

Individual Public Servants and Political Leaders have also resorted to Facebook (personal profile accounts) as a short cut to keeping an eye and ear on their constituencies. Radio and Television are also largely used for public communication, but remain largely costly, and not convenient to many.

A leading example is the Uganda Revenue Authority, which has taken a leading role in adopting interactive Internet services in the delivery of its services. Uganda Revenue Authority has been praised for its closeness to the people, and efficient service and response, due to Internet based services. For example, one is able to complete full registration for tax identification, without needing to go to the Revenue Authority.

The Technology earthquake: new age challenges need new channels of communication. Governments are learning to come to the people, instead of waiting for people to come to them. Government needs information and knowledge, and these best come from the people.

The Digital Divide between public sector and private sector, and lack of E-Governance approaches might be making their final breath as social media and use of modern technology takes over government. Take for instance; the Uganda Police’s Public Order Management strategies rely on Facebook updates; on popular events necessitating security alertness. Changing times need responsive governments, and responsive governments listen to their people. People are speaking everywhere, but peoples’ voices are today louder on social media platforms than anywhere else.

What governments seem to have learnt of late is that “if social media can cause earthquake for regime change (the case of Egypt for example), then same social media can be better put to use for strategic engagement with the people.

In terms of political mobilization and voter attraction, political party “foot soldiers” (extra committed volunteers) are using their personal Facebook and tweeter accounts to influence and convince their friends, relatives and colleagues to vote for their party and favourate candidates. Political party and special event Face book pages are seen to dominate public debate during the course of preparations for a major political event, in order to capture the attention of the general public.

To sum it up, government in Uganda, like others elsewhere in the world, is learning all and forgetting nothing in keeping an eye on its people, through use of social media.

A watchman that sleeps far from the gate never knows when the Master entered, and loses his job the following morning.” – Ivan Atuyambe – Passau, Germany


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