Public Service Through Social Media — Why Governments Should Emulate Globe Telecom's Social Media Initiatives

I had a simple question today. Is the 10 AM to 3 PM window of coding for EDSA still implemented? The problem is their websites are not updated as fast as they can randomly change their rules and regulations. For instance, I got caught in Makati one time thinking that the 10 to 3 window applied there. Through social media, citizens could easily be notified about this information and at the same time ask other queries and be engaged in realtime.

You know the "How's my driving? Call LTFRB" mandatory signs at the back of public vehicles? Instead of calling, you can even take a photo of any road rule infringements in realtime. And this could be the same for all agenecies across the board. Taxpayers are stakeholders and they deserve customer service and it baffles me that governments have not invested a great deal in improving customer service. If drivers get to ask people How's my driving? then government officials should also be able to ask How's my public Service?

I experience this firsthand as I currently work for Globe managing queries and concerns that are tweeted to @Talk2Globe. Globe invested a great deal of money and effort in improving their social media engagement by tapping the services of Lithium Technologies. We get up to 6,000 tweets a day (unofficial count) and it is criminal for us not to be able to engage all of them. And these technologies that Globe acquired help us in doing so.

Of course, it's not entirely perfect as there are not many competing models to choose from yet. It is continuously being calibrated and new processes are being added to make it more efficient. Social media managers of today are setting the standards for the methods of engagement of tomorrow. Governments should do the same.

I'm not being biased at all. It's not even about Globe just because I work for Globe. It's more of me seeing such potential in this concept and wanting the same benefits for our nation (although I don't know if this has already been emulated by governments in other parts of the world). Honestly though, I am a Sky broadband subscriber and I tweeted them and got no response. For someone who doesn't have a landline but has data on my mobile most of the time, I'd rather be notified while I'm on the go.

And this is the inevitable future of the next generation. Kids nowadays are required to have iPads and other gadgets as part of the regular curriculum. That's where we are heading and governments should anticipate it.

You know that concept of writing to your congressman? They should all have Twitter accounts and blogs where they can engage and interact with citizens and at the same time report what the hell they did with taxpayer's money that day.

And how about the skeptics who would say that not everyone has access to social media? I say we must recheck our statistics as many of our less fortunate members of society have at least 2G capabilities. I've seen blue-collar workers have better smartphones than mine. And in such a competitive and innovative industry, prices go down so drastically and so fast and it will be easier for more people to have access to 3G units in the future. 

Citizens and taxpayers are customers and therefore a great deal of investment in customer service and support is needed. We've seen social media help topple tyrannies in Libya and Egypt. It is about time we utilize it for better governance and enhancement of our freedoms.

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