Governments trying to control social media? Something you only hear about in places like China, Egypt or Turkey? Think again.

I’ve been watching the news around Governments, in this case the Australian Federal Liberal Government and the Victorian State Government, looking to contain social media in some way, shape or form.  Has someone – anyone? – told them it’s not that easy to silence it or shut it down?

Colleagues told: Dob in political web posts – Daily Telegraph April 6th, 2014

Facebook could bring down the government, says state parliamentary inquiry – The Age April 25th, 2014

Stopping ‘Stop Tony Meow’: how web plug-in caught the Department of Prime Minister’s attention – Sydney Morning Herald April 22nd, 2014

Government cyber snoops scouring social media – Sydney Morning Herald April 11th, 2014

The whole things smacks of an understanding of old school traditional communications; controlling the message, dictating the channel, directing the audience segments and sticking to the song sheet.

Social blew all that stuff out of the water years ago.  So here’s the deal

  • The reason why social is so popular is because it gives people a voice on WHATEVER they want to have a voice on. Finally there is truly something for the people and the people are using it  – in hordes.
  • People are driving the conversations, building highly shareable content and gathering highly segmented networks to their causes
  • They can respond to a conversation without a seven level sign off – they are communicating in real ‘real-time.’
  • People are sourcing and curating information in their time-poor, highly digitalised lives so it aligns to their interests, lifestyles and their hip-pocket. The 6pm news or the tabloid is often not front and centre.
  • They want  direct contact – they will tweet you or send you a post – best that political parties read these, understand the sentiment and remain responsive to this information. No longer will  they write a letter and wait for the pro-forma response which is as interesting as eating a cardboard box.

The  Feds and the Victorian Government should should literally get with the program or at least hire someone who knows how it all works.

But while I’m here, a big well done to those pollies who are out there, talking about the issues and having the debates and conversations.  Especially this one.