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UN E-Government Survey in the News  
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Facebook Works Well For E-Government
Source: Information Policy, by Narissa Noor, http://www.i-policy.org/2010/07/facebook-works-well-for-e-government.html; Brunei Direct, http://www.brudirect.com/index.php/2010071625172/First-Stories/facebook-works-well-for-e-government.html
Source Date: Monday, July 19, 2010
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government
Country: Brunei Darussalam
Created: Jul 19, 2010

This was a recommendation made by an expert from the United Nations, Richard Kerby, Senior Inter-Regional Advisor from the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, speaking to the media.

Kerby, who is in Brunei to conduct a two-day workshop `Measurement and Evaluation Tool for e-Government Readiness (METER)' spoke to the media on the importance of social networking tools such as Facebook, blogs and Twitter as a way of improving the Brunei Government's e-services.

"If you look at most of the citizens, they are Facebook oriented and by the Government having a Facebook page they become more informal and it's easier to communicate at that level," he said.

"It's a way of telling the younger generation that I understand the area you're playing and I want to find out more about you and therefore give the opportunity for us to dialogue on your social networking tools," he elaborated.

He explained that while there is a tendency to perceive the Government as a formal entity, "you don't have to be formal to communicate with people".

"The concept is to start embracing social networking tools and that's the key because once decision makers and ministers and heads of state start doing that, the average citizen will feel more closer to them," he added.

Meanwhile, Kerby is hopeful that the Brunei Government will be taking his advice and making full use of these social networking tools.

"I think they are but the proof will be in the implementation. So in six months from now if you see there are more government ministries with their own Facebook pages then what have been said are resonating and being implemented," Kerby said.

"The key is to be able to have a focus group which information can be sent directly instead of waiting for them to come to the website," he added.

Kerby also highly recommended implementing a `mobile Government' as a way of improving its e-services and subsequently Brunei's ranking in the UN e-Government Survey which is based on a composite index comprising online services, telecommunication infrastructure and human capital indices.

According to Kerby, Brunei has a large mobile population of almost 10:1 from mobiles to PCs.

"If government ministries start developing more mobile services, you will have more liberty and wherever you are, you can still ask for government services through your mobile."

This, however, is not to suggest that there be a lax in personal contact.

"There still has to be a multi-channel approach because the elderly still want to have face-to-face contact with the ministries," Kerby said. -- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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