Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Thank God, Indian government’s social media posts are liberal, though not humorous

A TWEET by Delhi police’s traffic department a few days ago (screenshot photo here) virtually gave a tip-off to the wrong-doers about a particular road to be avoided for escape! It says: “Traffic is heavy on road no 13 A Sarita Vihar due to checking of local police”. In other words, a tech-savvy carjacker would know which road to avoid! This could be a faux pas, but the fact remains that Indian government departments’ twitter policy is highly…
liberal if compared to that of many other developed nations.
Let’s take the Canadian example. Only recently, the highly rigid twitter policy crafted for the Canadian government departments hogged the media limelight when it was known through the Access to Information Act (equivalent to our RTI) that most 140-character messages posted by the government departments of that country are actually planned weeks in advance, and those are edited by dozens of civil servants before getting reviewed by the minister’s staff. Believe it or not, a government tweet is sanitized through a 12-step protocol in Canada, according to the written guidelines of the government there.
The documents narrating the details of the steps were obtained from "Industry Canada" department.
Industry Canada in its defence said it follows what it calls Treasury Board Standard on Social Media Account Management.
In India, more and more government departments are now resorting to Twitter, Facebook and Google plus -- the prominent social media platforms, but bureaucratic hurdles don’t allow those messages even to be slightly informal or humorous so that they reach out to a large audience. But if the Canadian experience is taken as a yardstick, India’s social media policy for the government is flexible and far too less bureaucratic, for sure.

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