In recent months, there has been a sudden upsurge in interest in new media amongst government agencies in Singapore. This wave of interest was largely spurred by PM Lee's national day rally speech, which nudged the government to experiment in new media technologies. This was followed by a spate of articles in the Straits Times about gahmen bloggers, and more recently, a dinner between gahmen bloggers and MCYS Parl Secy Teo Ser Luck. This finally culminated in the most recent launch of the p65 blog by PAP MPs born after 1965 (timed just after their maiden hip hopping performance).
One of the key challenges that government communicators face is the need to get buy in from different stakeholders - especially the public - without compromising on wider national interests. This becomes increasingly difficult over the years due to media fragmentation, advertising clutter and the proliferation of alternative sources of information largely from the Internet.
This competition for attention is a key reason why government agencies nowadays have to advertise in both the mainstream and online media to get their messages across. It is no longer enough to rely on media publicity alone - you need sufficient frequency, breadth and depth of messaging to engage the public. Government communicators must now be familiar with advertising terms like GRP, top of mind recall, mindshare, and of course the ubiquitous brand equity.
The question now is whether government agencies should embrace blogging as the next frontier. If they were to do so, should it be done in a decentralised manner, with individual agencies putting up their own blogs or should there be a central endeavour to coordinate and synergise such efforts? What would be the content that members of the public would be interested in, should such gahmen blogs arise? How would they want to be engaged and what would be their expectations?
I think the verdict is still out on the above. Any views?