Here is an infographic on the governments use of social media :



The above research has shown the influence of social media on MPs, campaigns, and that it facilitates communication between the government and the general public. This research focused mainly on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as these were of high usage.

Social media tools are challenging the traditional “need to know” information- sharing paradigm (Dawes, Cresswell, and Pardo 2009) and are increasing the degree of participation of all stakeholders in the process of creating, maintaining, sourcing, and sharing knowledge. The resulting— partially informal— emerging interactions between the public and government itself are creating opportunities for increased transparency, accountability, participation, and collaboration (Orszag 2009)

Here is a fascinating video on how the US government has adopted social media :

Government vs Private Sector

Since hierarchies in the government sector have proven to be inefficient when it comes to searching for information, the social web is seen as an information sharing paradigm. Web applications that allow collaborative knowledge creation and sharing are rapidly making their way into the public sector (O’Reilly 2007). The government is not far behind private organisations in the use of social media. Private businesses are already engaging full on and making money through advertising via social media applications. The use of social media has given greater transparency and knowledge sharing.

Social media is  a powerful tool and must be managed in the right way. One of the challenges is the security of information. Sensitive data can get leaked if the government or anyone for that matter is not careful.

Governments might be struggling to indulge fully in social media due to the following reasons:

  • Budget – high costs for maintaining a dedicated team of employees to manage and respond to social media queries.
  • accidental leakage of confidential information