NZ social media policy world’s best: Gartner

AUCKLAND — A common sense approach has put the New Zealand government’s social media policy in high regard with IT research company Gartner.

On a blog post on Gartner’s website, vice president Andrea Di Maio commends the policy for its principles based on an individual’s role, which he says are down-to-earth and provide actionable decision frameworks.

Di Maio is particularly impressed by the policy’s passive-active-engaged approach, which asks social media users in government to first listen to their community, understand what it is they are voicing, and then engage if it is appropriate.

“This looks so reasonable and yet it is not what most guidelines say, as they try to urge organisations to establish a presence even without any clear understanding of their audience’s expectations,” says Di Maio.

“These are must-reads for any public sector organisation that is struggling with social media.”

[In Canada, Treasury Board has created a set of Web 2.0 guidelines for bureaucrats to encourage the use of social media. However, the policy has its critics.] 

The New Zealand policy was created by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA). Jared Gulian, senior Web advisor at the DIA, says the uptake of social media use by New Zealanders was a key factor for creating the guidelines.

“There’s some government departments that have been doing this very well, and others not quite so,” says Gulian. “We wanted to put something out across the board to help guide people when they’re using this new channel.”

Gulian says the policy based much of its principles on others established overseas, looking at sources from Australia, the U.S., and the United Kingdom.

“We looked at what other jurisdictions were doing in this space to avoid re-inventing the wheel,” says Gulian. “We received permission from the U.K. to repurpose their guidelines, and we used this as a first draft.”

Gulian says this draft guideline was then taken through a consultation process with the government web community, and other government staff. “We came out of this with an end product which we think is very sound,” says Gulian.

The social media policy was approved by the ICT Strategy Group in November, and Gulian says it is effective immediately.

(With an add by IT World Canada)

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