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New Media and Governance

The New Media and Governance was the first of it's kind in Africa. Jonas was invited to give a keynote at the conference.

The conference focused on how new (especially social) media can improve a more digital and open government and how to create more transparency. And lastly how civil society can be engaged through these new tools.

The two-day conference was held in the Shehu Musa Yar'Adua Foundation Centre in Abuja, Nigeria. The participants were a mix of public and private stakeholders and several NGO's. The Minister of Technology Communication and The Minister of Youth Development gave their views on how to gain more transparency in government through new media. The Governor of Ekiti State gave a very interesting presentation and explained how they have opened up their local state data, for example by putting the state budget online. Quite impressive.

The-Audience

We were very pleased to be a part of the very first conference in Africa on New Media and Governance. We were also motivated by the enthusiasm and eager the Nigerians have for digitizing the public sector and practicing government 2.0 - transparency and opening up for participation and collaboration with the citizens. This is an interesting and very positive tendency we have followed the past couple of years, not only in the West but especially in Nigeria aswell. Take a look at the 2011 elections. Look at how Atiku became super accessible and how Goodluck have managed to become the second most liked politician after Obama on Facebook. We will keep following these trends in the future. Imagine if the Nigerian Government would open up completely for their data.

Jonas speaks

Jonas gave examples of how we have engaged people in social media and how we work. Just to give you an idea (you can find the slides here), let's quickly recap some of the points here: The methods and tools we use are digitized. Easy accessible platforms are what we can use to market politics to the citizens. This is not one-way, but two-way communication. A social media strategy needs to be built into the government for the long term. Three points to be made here:

Be strategic

  • plan for the long run
  • Engaging with citizens needs to be continually

Be genuine

  • Do it because you believe in it
  • When you open for this you need to act on it
  • Embrace the citizen and listen to them and try to change things

Change the organization

  • Get everybody on board and
  • Build competencies
  • Be cross-organizational. Collaborate - not just one single depart - the whole organization needs to be on board. It's not about technology but rather culture and how we want to be and run a government. In an open, participatory and transparent way.

If you find our thoughts on this interesting, please contact us on info@seismonautafrica.com. We are happy to talk more about this.

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