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Social media has become a fact of life for civil society worldwide, involving many actors, regular citizens, activists, non-governmental organizations, telecommunications firms and software providers. The government is yet to adapt.
The Ministry of Sport and Recreation has become the first ministry of the Zimbabwe Government to embrace Social Media as a communication channel with its stakeholders.
Proactive digital engagement with citizens produces very strong results with small resource. With these new channels the Ministry Of Sport And Recreation will be able to provide citizens the information they need in the way they want to get it. With limited resources, this digital engagement is able to build relationship.
A key member associated with Ministry of Sport and Recreation has told Techunzipped that a local tech organisation has been appointed by Ministry of Sport and Recreation as a “consultant” to effectively handle its social media accounts. They, however, could not reveal which company it was.
The Zimbabwe Government does not have a full-fledged team to project the ministry’s work in social media. Hence we are told the consultant has been handling the account of the ministry. This is a welcome move from the ministry since they are the only ministry to have active social media account.
As social media increasingly becomes part of everyday life, more government agencies are carving to be on social media presence online. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube not surprisingly, are perhaps the most common outlets for government social media efforts. Initially the government was not that supportive of using social media for improving governance but slowly and steadily the government is embracing this platform.
In the 21st century, the government needs to be more open and transparent about its operations and these social networking sites can help in developing a more participatory, innovative and inclusive governing model where the government not only spread awareness of its policies and plans but also engages in a two-way communication where they can get instant citizen feedback as well as including suggestions made by common people for proper delivery of public services.
After this development, we hope to be receiving live coverage of interactive National sporting events and policy meetings, than wait for the evening or “morning-after” news on our beloved ZBC or other local newspapers. We only wonder how the consulting company will be able to surpass the well-known long and hard approval procedures of Government articles before release though. But, all the same, the move is welcome and we look forward to seeing more departments following suit.