The Social Media Usage Guidelines developed by the Federal eGovernment (@EmirateseGov) in United Arab Emirates (UAE) was awarded “The Social Media Initiative of the Year” award during the Government Digital Media Conference organized by @govdmf in Dubai earlier this month.
I had the honor to lead the government task force collaborated in developing this important policy document, this award is not only a reward for the team effort but also a reward to the practice and values that governed the process of the policy formulation. Here I’m highlighting some of them:
- Being proactive: although the policy guidelines document was officially launched last March, the actual development process was started in April, 2010. Because of the launch date, some thought it was a reaction to the rise of social media in the region in the last few month and the role it has been playing in the ongoing changes. I’ve to say: it wasn’t a reaction. Instead, it was a well planned initiative started earlier than that. Thanks to the proactive spirit of Mr. Salem Al Shair (Director of UAE eGovernment) and the way he empowered the task force.
- Cross-government Collaboration: from the beginning back in April 2010, the policy development approach was designed to guarantee maximum collaboration with federal and local government entities across UAE. This was reflected in the policy forum and round table sessions where the early version of the policy was drafted and also in the continuous online collaboration and discussion. (Check the link to photos at the end of this post)
- Citizen Engagement: enriching the interaction with the public (citizens and residents) is one of the key goals of adopting social media UAE eGovernment strategy, so we heavily consulted the public and listened to their opinions about government usage of social media and how the policy would affect them. This helped in offering the government entities better understanding of citizens’ perspective while drafting the policy.
- Partnership: I’m a huge believer in the partnership between government and research institutes. When we decided to develop this policy in partnership with a research institute, Dubai School of Government (@dubaischoolgovt) was our ultimate choice because of the expertise and resources in its specialized research program – Innovation in Government research headed by Mr. Fadi Salem (@Fadisalem). This post is another opportunity to say: thank you Fadi!
As much as we appreciate this award, we know we don’t have much time to celebrate! We need to continue doing our job in promoting more effective use of social media in government, this policy should be a great help!
To know more about the policy guidelines and process, you can: