Government and Social Media

How Does Government Social Media Use Compare to that of the Private Sector?

I’ve noticed more parallels between the public and private sectors than I expected to when I first read the question.

As we know, both small businesses and those in the corporate world are embracing social media in order to achieve a number of goals and increase their competitive advantage. At the same time, MPs in New Zealand have been establishing a presence on Facebook for some years. The NZ Parliamentary Library (NZPL) has compared various parties’ and MPs’ friend and fan counts, which is mildly interesting – what is much more interesting is the NZPL’s noting that two of the five most-followed MPs on Facebook entered Parliament after the 2008 election. This is not long at all when you think that MPs like Winston Peters are still around. Could it be that younger MPs are looking to social media to help build a support base, or even (forgetting for a second that correlation does not imply causality) that a higher number of social media followers might be an indicator of electoral success? MPs probably are trying to gain support in the same way that companies look for new leads online, but I’m leaning towards ‘no’ on the latter. As the NZPL points out, a lot of people follow others on social media in order to observe them, not necessarily because they agree with them. It’s hard enough to predict based on voter polls! Continue reading

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