Indian government on social media

Indian Govt Plans Social Media Engagement

Social media guidelinesWith India all set to hit a networking boom and the future being predominantly mobile, the Government of India has finally come out with a draft Social Media Framework and Guidelines.

The draft is aimed and designed to engage with all its stakeholders (especially citizens) in real time to make policy making citizen centric. The guidelines have been developed for all eGovernance projects under the National eGovernance Plan.

With social media transforming the way people connect with one another on a 24×7 basis, and with its viral ability for exponential spread of information by word-of-mouth, it is redefining the way organizations and people communicate.

Taking a cue from this, Governments across the world are taking to social media to interact with their citizens. In the US, for example, The White House has its own Facebook page and Twitter profile. In Victoria, Australia, the prime minister’s office uses YouTube, Facebook and Twitter as well as Live Chat and blogs to interact with its stakeholders.

In India, many Government organizations are already using social media in a limited manner. The Delhi Police, for example, uses Facebook and Twitter to ease handling of traffic related issues.

The Public Diplomacy division of the Ministry of External Affairs made its debut recently on Twitter with the ID IndianDiplomacy which was used recently very successfully during the recent crises in Libya and the Middle East.

The Government of India’s draft on Social Media policy therefore comes at the right time and as a breath of fresh air.

Objectives: The clear objectives suggested in the draft are:

1. Seeking feedback from citizens

2. Re-pronouncement of policy

3. Issue-based as well as generic interaction

4. Brand building / Public Relations

5. Generating awareness and education on National Action Plans and Implementation Strategies.

The draft suggests creating a 3C framework – Connectedness, Collaboration and Community – which helps create content and helps share it seamlessly with the stakeholders. It suggests that this should form the bedrock of the content policy.

It further recommends that content should be regularly updated (at least every week or two.)

The draft also proposes that Government departments should have an internal team to oversee the formulation and implementation of Social Media initiatives at a policy level whilst allowing them to outsource the resources, if need be, to manage Facebook, Twitter etc.

These, obviously, would be covered within the law of the land (RTI Act, IT Act 2000 etc.)

In addition, the draft proposes that reasonable security practices be adopted and suggests that ISO 27001 is an acceptable standard.

However, implementation of the whole ISO27001 section standard would not be all that easy for the average government department to follow. That would become a barrier to social media implementation for these departments, so it is suggested that the government provide a subset of minimal requirements from ISO27001 to follow.

About Prakash Subbarao: Prakash was one of the most energetic people we have worked with at pepper square. He was an avid quizzer and conducted professional quizzes at various events. A specialist in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), his strategic expertise has directly influenced sales and visibility for many of our clients. An early adopter of Internet technology Prakash started Bangalore’s first corporate bulletin board service (BBS) during the pre-internet days. He has also developed Dubai’s largest database, which he later sold to a British company. He passed away in November 2010.

5 Responses

  1. August 19, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Great article – As commented by others, Social media connects bridge between common man and Govt. It’s indeed for the growth. Hope Modi’s govt in India are using the social media in a right way.
    Looking forward to reap more benefit from social media.

  2. Ruchi Kumari
    November 23, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Its good to know that government is trying to come closer to the common man.Through social media engagement the government not only will be able to link to millions of people but would also help in getting feedback.Through this step the youth generation can actively participate in making the country future and bring awareness among the people who are away from the reach of social media.But all this can be achieved if the government works for its success and take initiative to implement it.

  3. Lisha
    October 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    A good citizen engagement initiative by the government. This would help ‘the establishment’ to connect with the youth and the currently disenchanted middle class. Could also prove to be a vital tool to create awareness on government policy and invite citizen participation. But to achieve all of this, this initiative has to be implemented in letter and spirit.

  4. Mario
    October 15, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Its great that the government has taken the initiative to think about this and put forward a policy because social media engagement will not only enable a greater and more frequent level of government-people interaction, but will also potentially help it bring about a bottom-up change in the image of the government, i.e., from formal, conservative and authoritative, to more open, sociable and able to interact with people using contemporary online platforms.

    The suggestion that a pilot implementation be done to start is a good one. In addition, to the suggestions Prakash has given in his article, I would suggest that the pilot implementation should be supported by hiring a dedicated agency (internal or external) to provide expert consultancy to aspiring government organisations on the practical implementation of social media engagement.

  5. Rahul
    October 13, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    It’s high time our government should reap the benefits of social media. This move will make both the govt and citizens much closer in terms of creating and sharing valuable information.