Arabs use of govt social media ‘limited’
Dubai, July 13, 2014
The use of social media channels in the Arab world to communicate with the government is limited, despite the rising numbers of Arabs online and 82 million active social media users across the region, said a report.
The public sector’s online communication with citizens remains primarily one-way, as 74 per cent of the Arab internet users who visit government social media pages do so just to access information about government entities, said the Arab World Online 2014: Trends in Internet and Mobile Usage in the Arab Region report.
Social media’s increasing potential for governments to proactively engage citizens will be a key topic of discussion at this year’s GCC Government Social Media Summit, which will take place on September 17 and 18 at the Sofitel Dubai Downtown.
Industry experts from across the region will share their views on how social media can be used to engage with audiences and potential industry partners and generate leads for business growth.
The summit, which is to be held under the theme ‘innovative social networks for effective collaboration and smart governance,’ is expected to attract more than 300 regional and international communications and social media experts, decision makers and executives.
It will feature six industry-specific workshops that are customised to help delegates from various sectors better understand the needs of their particular audience groups.
The tailor-made sessions will run in parallel and will stimulate discussions about how social media can be leveraged in key sectors including government, healthcare, defence, tourism, foreign affairs and education.
The session for defence professionals will see digital media specialists explore the fine line between the positives of staying engaged while balancing the risks associated with staying online for information-sensitive, government defence organisations.
The Social Media for Government workshop will analyse how governments can effectively respond to current issues and needs using this dynamic channel and how social media strategy should be developed for government entities.
A third parallel session will help tourism sector specialists to discover the secrets of scaling their national brands or destinations using social media.
Fadi Salem, director of Governance and Innovation Program at the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government and a member of the summit’s advisory board, said: “Arabs today have a positive attitude towards governments engaging with citizens via social media channels.
“In one of our most recent surveys, we found that 55 per cent of respondents strongly support governments’ use of social media in delivering public services.”
“While we are still at a beginning of an era where increased social media utilisation is empowering citizens and allowing for real collaboration models with government entities, the Arab region is witnessing increased innovative examples where the ‘business case’ for using social media for co-design, co-production and co-delivery of public services is taking place,” he said.
The summit will also include a private, invitation-only Directors’ Workshop on social media collaboration, customer engagement and policy setting.
This session will provide a focused and effective platform for social media directors and government leaders to explore the strategic issues faced by government social networks. The discussions will focus on the importance of a long-term communications vision for social media activities and building strong foundations for social networks. - TradeArabia News Service