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Social media used for social policy planning
It was only a matter of time before social media platforms became more than just a place to meet and chat online. Alberta Government's Human Services social policy initiative – Speak. Share. Thrive. – is using all that social media has to offer to connect with Albertans. What can we learn from this?
The key driver behind this project is 'engagement' – which means connecting with the public. We all have publics and all want to share information and feedback. It is as critical to our organizational wellbeing as the air we breathe. If the public –individuals, groups, businesses and organizations – are ready to participate in this manner – then it should be successful. The door to policy discussion with the government has been opened.
The Government is using a wiki (online collaborative platform), blog, survey, Twitter, and take-away kits to gather the public's views on social policy. Wiki – one of the best collaborative social media platforms- is a great choice to add to the mix. Participants can contribute content to the Wiki and read or write a blog. Albertans have all been given an opportunity to speak directly to government – and have a direct influence on an important policy. Will we take advantage?
Although the site has some jargon – engagement, stakeholders, framework – the participating instructions are clear. The home page offers easy to use, see and understand button links to the key components. The 'How To Participate' page is straightforward.
The rules for contributions state they must be 'relevant, respectful, safe, and clean'. If you are starting a public participation project – and using social media - this is a good template.
It will be interesting to see the final out come. What will be the true impact of the use of a varied social media strategy? Will there be significant input from the public? How will this be measured and reflected in the new policy? This initiative is a bold move into the arena of public engagement using social media. It can certainly act as a blueprint – and hopefully it is successful in putting the public's imprint on Alberta's social future. Time will tell.