Few Public Leaders Understand the Power of Social Media
This article on Forbes Nearly One Year After The Start Of Arab Uprisings, Few Arab Leaders Understand The Power Of Social Media made me curious how governments are doing here “at home” in Europe. I found the article in the twitter feed of Matthew Fraser, @frasermatthew.
We are after all seeing a raising citizen engagement in many countries over the world and in any case it is always in any government's interest to communicate with its citizens. But maybe it should be even higher in times of change. Today with Social media communication is easier than ever before. Only I find that if governments actually do use Social Media it is one way only and it is rare that the citizens actually gets to interact with their governments. In fact I haven't found any proof where interaction is the "normal."
According Jared Cohen, Google Ideas, we currently see two systems in the midst of a noisy transition, where one is physical and dominated by states with the traditional division between state and power and the other is a rival system that is virtual, cross-national and dominated by citizens.
Cohen believes that these two systems will eventually find a way to exist side by side and that there will be a sort of checks-and-balances situation where we still will have a system based on states but with a higher interaction by its citizens.
Anyway, this prompted me to make a very non-academic investigation about the status of a few European countries. I have studied the Prime Minister home page of the following countries and noted if there was a link to Twitter. And when I mention the name of the Prime Minister this often refers to the actual office as I do understand that it is rare that the Heads of State engage like this with their constituencies – although from a credibility point of view it wouldn't hurt them if they did.
United Kingdom: PM Cameron tweets under the profile UK Prime Minister, and rather actively too. Although Cameron seems to like Social Media only when it used to push information not so much when it is used to interact. And he certainly shows a lack of intellectual honesty in his actual approach to Social Media. He cannot on the one hand praise Social Media and the role it played in the Arab spring and on the other hand demand higher control of the same Social Media when it is used to create the same upheaval in the UK.Continued on the next page