Tweets are now more effective than presidential statements: PDGCF told

-     Government communications lack trust, need to use metrics to gain trust

Accuracy, transparency, speed and accountability will be key in future government communications that currently often lack trust, according to experts at the Public Diplomacy and Government Communication Forum in Dubai.
In a changing global environment where social media offers the first newsbreaks and government communicates through tweets, diplomacy and government communication will also undergo a sea change. They will have to be trustworthy, accurate and be measurable, they said.

Citizens worldwide often receive government handouts with mistrust as government officials are traditionally known to hide facts rather than offer the truth.

“In a world where metrics is the new currency, people expect the government to offer metrics in their communications while talking about development,” Aaron Sherinian, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer of the UN Foundation, said at the Creativity and Innovation in Public Diplomacy and Government Communication session. “The problem with regards to public diplomacy and government communication is that they lack trust and accuracy.”

Half World Connected
Sherinian said, 3.5 billion among the world’s 7.5 billion people are active internet users, while 1.92 billion are active on social media. As much as 79 per cent of the young population between the age group of 18-44 spend 22 hours a day on smartphone or computers – are hooked to the net.

“The previous generation used to check news twice a day. Now young men and women check news a few times every hour, that’s how the world has changed,” Aaron Sherinian says.
 
“Everything has changed. However, the change is not about the gadgets, it’s more about the approach. The new normal is where Presidents and Prime Ministers tweet to deliver news to the public – that works more effectively than an official statement or a press conference.”

Social Media Fuel
“Social media is the fuel, not the fire. But it becomes fire when people get engaged. Social media is the fuel for fire. The public is the new media and we need to engage with them.”

Citing the United Nations’ Sustainable Goals (SDGs), he said every government will have to perform against the 17 stated goals – metrics and be measured against.

Sherinian said, governments need to use metrics in communications and they will be judged against these metrics.  “You now have a measurement against which your government’s performance will be measured – against which you must perform,” he said.

The Forum
Organized by the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), the Public Diplomacy and Government Communication Forum looks at a range of communication issues that governments encounter in the light of recent political, social, environmental and security developments.

The event discusses communication success stories and learnings from major campaigns, crises and events. The Public Diplomacy and Government Communication Forum brings together ministers, senior government officials, academics and experts in the fields of communications and media from the region and across the world.

Informative sessions, covering a range of topics including crisis management, national campaigns, public engagement, social media and digital diplomacy, offer strategic yet practical content that addresses the major communication themes of today. The one-day event features an engaging mix of local, regional and international speakers.

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