Sunday, June 3, 2012

Is Social Media Impacting Political Decision Making ?

It would seem we now live in a world where the political class are constantly in a state of flux.

How many times in the past few years have we had policy decisions being rolled out only to have it unravel before our very eyes in days weeks and months. Pasty Tax, banking reform, resignation special advisers, B Sky B the list goes on.

Social Media is now playing a leading roll in Government decision making, influencing those key decisions that will impact on everday lives in so many ways.

Just on friday I learnt BIS (Business Innovation and Skills) monitors Twitter feeds and if they have 10 tweets with a monitored keyword within say 3 minutes span of each other, they will  investigate why there is potential interest in a subject keyword. Such monitoring of the public mood is now impacting on key policy decisions as governments are now becoming more reactionary to their decisions, having to typically back-track, once they gauge public mood is unfavourable.

Recently I have also noticed various stories on BBC news Website on Sunday being relegated from the home page reasonably quickly if public mood appears unfavourable. (I do not claim that this is intentional as I can appreciate, new, news stories are always moving through the system, but you do have to question the ability of the public to significantly influence the public mood and how the public can have more control over how a news story is interpreted by the majority of people.)

This is leading to early leaks of  government policy to gauge the public mood. This then leads to a Government that seems exceptionally weak as it flits from policy leak, to policy review, to policy roll out and then back to re-canting the policy as public mood moves and swings.

I put it to all of you, Governments are now paralyzed with the advent of Social Media and Good Government decision making is now not possible.

Please post a comment as it would be helpful to build a profile of what others think !

Toby Chambers
Social Activist
Social Entrepreneur

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