Public servants have a responsibility to protect the image of the Government when it comes to social media.
They are to build and defend the reputation of Government, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology’s Social Media Policy for Government 2017 says.
The 15-page policy has been obtained by the Weekend Observer. On the cover is a quote by Tim Scully: “If it is online-it can be found, if you delete it-it can still be found, even if you secure it-it can still be accessed.”
The policy book outlines the guidelines for personal use by government officials.
“When using social media for personal use, public servants should also consider the following, could what you are doing harm the reputation of your organisation and the Government of Samoa?
“Are you disclosing organisation material that you are not specifically authorised to disclose.
“Have you made it clear to other when your contribution is as a private individual and not as a representative of your organization?
“Are you willing to defend what you post to your manager?
“Are you using Government owned infrastructure? Do you have permission to use it in this way?
“Are you behaving with integrity, respect and accountability?
“Government employees must use a private email address rather than their Government e-mail address when engaging in social media activities for personal use.
“Personal use of social media must never interfere with work duties.”
Furthermore, the policy notes the Government employees who are making comments or contributions on behalf of Government and or government organizations should only do so with express approval or authority and should consider the use of social media tools.
“Before engaging with a specific special medial channel, ensure you understand its terms or reference, conventions and etiquettes.
“Employees may not engage in online communications activities which could bring the Government into disrepute.
“Personal details of yourself, if or other Government employees, should be given out, only the official details (office telephone, email or fax) for reference purposes.”
The policy book notes that the Samoa Government is the primary provider of social, environmental, legal and economical services in Samoa.
“And because of its all-encompassing role in the day to day lives of Samoans, the computing infrastructure that the Government relies on needs to be up to date, therefore the search for better ways to maximize the benefit of I.C.T. for development has to go on.
“Broadband technologies have been progressing rapidly.
“In particular, high speed data communications enabled by emerging cellular technologies, namely mobile broadband, with their e-application are changing the way we live our lives and how we do businesses.
“The usage of over the top communications applications such as WhatsApp, Skype, etc., is driven by the improvements in the availability, as well as speed of the mobile networks, the expanding power as well as affordability of wireless devices such as smartphones and personal communication system in the pocket of every individual.
“Consumers of communication services have increasingly put a premium on a more personalised customer experience and more customisable access to services of their choice.”
The policy book also notes that as public servants, employees have a unique opportunity to step out and be part of the digital revolution joining a historical transition that allows conversations with the public rather than simple communication to them.
“This policy supports to achieve an improved quality of life fort all as envisioned in the Strategy for the Development of Samoa.”
The Government supports the use of social media to provide an opportunity for a two-way communication.
“While there can be challenges, there are also undeniable benefits of using social media for government outreach and citizen engagement,” according to the Policy.