Basically, we are currently in an era where flood of new technologies and the expanded use of social media have changed the way people communicate with each other. The change encouraged free flow of communication without borders at lightening speed.
However, most of the times content of the communication has been slanderous in nature on political, social, economic and religious front. This uncontrolled flow of content on the back of new technologies and social media platform has created (and continues to create) more unrest and dividing communities than strengthening the chord of harmony in the global village.
Precisely, everybody is a player on social media platform without a captain and people, wittingly or unwittingly, become part of a campaign adversely affecting the harmony among groups, communities and societies.
The point here is not to discuss the ills brought in by the change in the way people communicate today through new technologies and expanded use of social media. But, there is an urgent need to tailor a foolproof mechanism where citizens are diverted to make use of new technologies and social media for the kind of a change which is for betterment alone.
But, who will bell the cat? The answer is simple. The government is already in driver’s seat to make its citizens to use the social media platform in a productive way, at least, which does not preach hatred, malign communities and drives socio-political unrest.
There is no second opinion that the new technologies and social media can change the communication between Government and the citizens as they contribute decisively to the transformation of public administration. The citizens would be encouraged to participate actively in public affairs.
It will lead to open governance and the government would be making the citizens to utilize the time they spend on social media for productive initiatives. This would also lead to transparency of the government activities.
However, coercive measures won’t work to get the general public on board for healthy communication while using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms.
The initiative should be friendly in manner. Besides, it is to be done in phases and can be started from the internal public which is under direct control of the government.
Internal public is that segment of public which is directly under the control of the government and are spread in all sectors of the governance. Basically, social media has emerged as a new bone of contention between general public and the service providers – be it a government department, semi government department or any private entity.
General complaint is that employees are more into social media activities during the duty hours than attending to the issues of the public. Precisely, employees have become avid users of social media even at their workplaces.
In other words, the unrestricted usage of social media is rampant in government offices having a negative impact on workplace productivity, as employees are seen spending substantial time on social media every day for personal work.
This has affected the public delivery system and general public suffers for want of resolution to their issues. Precisely, workplace productivity is lost owing to social media indulgence.
Over a period of time, it has been observed that apart from loss of productivity, the extensive usage of social media by employees has also resulted in an increase in loss of confidential information, defamation, misinformation and employee solicitation.
Whether you agree or not, the use of social media at workplace and resultant slackening has become very rampant in government offices. Though some departments have put a social media policy for its employees in place to leverage its use to their benefit, but majority of the departments are clueless about how the employees’ appetite could be converted into perpetual benefits of each other.
So, in the first instance, there should be a comprehensive social media policy in place for government employees which should make their work culture more challenging and more aspirational.
They should be encouraged to use social media as a knowledge sharing platform. Above all, such a policy should limit personal use of these social media sites during working hours.