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eGovernment Forschung | eGovernment Research 2001 - 2017

It’s the stuff of legend. The provocateur Malayalees have ruled the cyber world with their querulous hashtags, wisecrack memes and piquant trolls. And if we had our way, we would’ve even pulled off an ‘e-hartal’.

But our little coquetry with social media ends there. Politicos in the state mostly log on to the cloud land to spew slanderous allegations at their nemesis, and seldom use the digital bridge as a democratic interface to interact and connect with the masses like their ilk around the globe.

Picture this: A cursory check by ‘Express’ found only three out of the 17 ministers have active Twitter handles. Worse, around seven of them don’t even have an active Facebook page or account. This, while Kerala is hurtling towards achieving the feted honour of being India’s first digital state is kind of ludicrous.

It’s a strange paradox. While on one hand the government boasts of having fully-digitised over 3,000 offices under its e-governance programme, on the other hand the ministers are shying away from tapping into the ubiquitous social media.

“The scenario is much different in Kerala where social media is not a prime mover for most of the ministers to stay connected with the public,” says Finance Minister Thomas Isaac who is among the handful of tech-savvy politicians in the state.

“No doubt, social media is an integral part of administration. It opens an avenue for politicians and citizens to directly communicate with each other. It helps maintain interpersonal relations. But owing to a host of reasons, a social media culture is yet to take root in the administration and governance,” he says.

Isaac unfailingly spends an hour a day on Facebook and Twitter to actively engage in issues ranging from waste management to social pension distribution. Cyber illiteracy and lack of reliable assistants keep ministers off the cyber grid.

“Ministers have to use these platforms themselves or they need highly skilled hands to assist them in using new media platforms,” Isaac says.

V T Balram MLA took a jibe at the LDF ministers saying most of them were yet to come out of the ideological rigidity. “Dated notions and fallacies have made them averse to social media. They are still blind to the role played by social media in furthering politics and social work,” Balram said.

It’s also true that most of the ministerial staff and officers of Public Relations Department are yet to embrace social media.

Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar says new media is still not the principal platform to connect with the masses. “Social media lends a space to interact. But, issues are diverted and even manipulated in social media.The officers who are adept at using social media should effectively use the tool for mass communication and better social outreach.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Shafeeq Alingal

Quelle/Source: The New Indian Express, 16.02.2017

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