10 January 2009

Engaging The Government Online

Previously, ape pointed a few ways to engage the authority and mentioned about bloggers' response to AIMS consultation paper. If you want to know more about what AIMS has been doing, read here, I'm not sure if this is the official website though.

The Government held a press conference to conclude AIMS report. The full report can be found on AIMS website. Or you can be like the ape, read someone else's summary. Ape is too lazy to repeat what is said or written.

However, ape just want to give a bit of his peanuts on one particular area - Reach. Reach is the official Government feedback unit. Ape has been there some time ago but not very active there. Topics were quite boring actually and comments posted by netizens were hardly "thought provoking". Read a lot of "I agree" or "disagree" without further elaboration. Not too sure how are things getting on there...

Anyway, the Minister for Infomation, Communincations and the Arts, said they'll expand the role of Reach and Reach will still remain "as its authoritative online source to engage Netizens [... as opposed to...] wandering the whole of the Internet just to debunk every single misleading or wrong posting" (Today, 10 Jan 09, words in brackets by ape).

Some may see it as Government limiting it's engagements with the online community but ape feels it's purely for practical reasons.

Who To Engage?
First, which online community or blog, should Government engage? Even if we zoom down to social political blogs, which one? Perhaps there's only a handful of good social political blogs now but what happens when there's more?

"Eh, why gahmen respond to The Online Citizen but not my blog, Talk Only Cock, har? Same same what! they TOC, I orso TOC leh?"

Who's This?
Besides that, if, for example, ape decides to talk about social-political issues only and one fine day, some one allegely from the Government decides to engage in discussions here. Ape will think - "Are you really who you are?" and so ape check with the respective ministry to confirmation and everytime this person post then everytime ape need to check... because ape can't really know if this person is still the same person who last posted. Ape no time to count peanuts!

And what if readers of ape read here that ape is discussing with someone from the Governement, won't the readers think "Is this reeeaaaaal?!?! Or is this ape trying to impress and boost his readership to earn advertisement?" and so they'll check with the Government... one reader one letter, 10 readers 10 letters? Government no time to count peanuts... oops, Government not like ape, they don't count peanuts.

And if say, supposing someone uses the inital LKY and claims that he is a civil servant and gave his comments here, do I really want to enquire from the ministries if this "LKY" is really from the civil service? And is he or perhaps she writing in personal capacity or as "Government"?

So, ape still think it is better to go to Reach if one wants to seek Governments engagement. At least netizens (readers and posters) know respond is from Government and Government need not appear to be bias by visiting some online forum but not the others. Win-win?

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