After burning its hands with social media several times in the last one year, Government of India has notified guidelines for use of social media by government agencies. Most of the government agencies don't have a presence on social media and those that are present, have failed miserably.
So in order to make an effective use of social media and reach out effectively to the citizens who are active on it, govt. hopes these guidelines will help them a great deal.
Following is what govt. had to say:
The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has approved and notified two important frameworks to ensure effective citizen engagement and communication with all stakeholders using various offline as well as online channels including Social Media.
As more and more projects are getting implemented, an increasing need has been felt for wider and deeper participation of an engagement with allstakeholders especially public at large to ensure that citizen centricity is maintained in all projects. To enable and support this goal, the Citizen Engagement Framework for e-Governance Projects has been developed for all government agencies. There is now a consensus that citizen participation and civic engagement are the building blocks for good governance and e-Governance is a critical component of good governance.
Media is transforming the way in which people connect with each other and the manner in which information is shared and distributed. In order to encourage and enable government agencies to make use of this dynamic medium of interaction, the Framework and Guidelines for use of Social Media by government agencies in India has been formulated. These guidelines will enable the various agencies to create and implement their own strategy for the use of social media. The document will help them to make an informed choice about the objective, platforms, resources, etc. to meet the requirement of interaction with their varied stakeholders.
The guidelines provide an in depth review of types of social media, their characteristics and challenges in their uses. In order to assist the departments to undertake such an engagement, the document provides for a framework and detailed guidelines governing each element of the framework.
While at a personal level, the uptake and usage of social media is gaining rapid popularity, use and utility of such media for official purpose remain ambiguous. Many apprehensions remain including, but not limited to, issues related to authorisation to speak on behalf of department/ agency, technologies and platform to be used for communication, scope of engagement, creating synergies between different channels of communication, compliance with existing legislations etc.
Social Media is being used across the world by different government agencies. It is believed that the Framework and Guidelines will be useful for departments and agencies in formulating their own strategies and will help them in engaging in a more fruitful manner with their respective stakeholders.
Awareness and communications in e-Governance is a high priority area to ensure wide spread dissemination of e-Services and service access channels and DeitY has been mandated to enhance visibility of e-Services enabled under National e-Governance Plan (NeGP). Also there was an immediate need to create framework for citizen engagement and use of Social Media which would enable Government Agencies to undertake meaningful engagement with citizens as well as leverage Social Media platforms more effectively for such engagements.
E-Governance marks a paradigm shift in the philosophy of governance-citizen centricity instead of process centricity, and large scale public participation through Information Communication Technology (ICT) enablement.
It is really good to see government finally waking up to social media and accepting it, instead of fighting with it. I hope these agencies will make good use of these platforms.
Feature image: John Snape