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Dublin: 13 °C Monday 20 October, 2014

Government departments urged to use social media and communicate online

The government departments have been criticised for not utilising social media to inform the public about their work.

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JUST THREE OUT of the 16 government departments engage in social media and blogs, with Fine Gael TD Damien English urging them to start communicating online.

He said government departments are “greatly underutilising” social media as a means of communicating, evaluating and responding to the public.

“Social media has transformed the way we communicate, and I believe that the various government departments can enhance how they interact with the public through a closer analysis of online chatter,” he said.

While government departments monitor social media at some level, he said very few of them actively engage with the issues being raised. “While it would not be feasible for departments to respond to every direct message on social media and blog sites, there is scope to increase the level of online communication,” said English.

He added:

By doing so, information from departments can be better targeted to members of the public and in turn will lead to an increased level of engagement online. Social media not only provides an outlet for views to be aired, but it’s also a great way to exchange information and have constructive conversations which might not otherwise be possible.

He said that using social media would be a great resource for government departments, stating:

“People are increasingly communicating through social media, and it is now our instinct to go online anytime we need information. Government departments are a huge resource of information, but they must ensure they are meeting the increasing demand for interaction and engagement, rather than simply imparting information in a one-way format.”

Conor Lynch CEO of SocialMedia.ie said social media would give departments the ability to listen into public conversations happening online.

“Social media now offers the most efficient and cost effective way for the Government to get the word out about its important work. I am not surprised with the findings from Damien English’s research but a government focused on saving money, should really be embracing social media with open arms,” he said.

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