Salem Khamis Al Shair Al Suwaidi, Deputy Director General, TRA - Information and eGovernment Sector opened the GCC Government Social Media Summit with a keynote speech on Tuesday, September 18. The 3-day forum is taking place at Ritz Carlton Hotel, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
In his speech Al Suwaidi gave the example of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. He said, "H. H. Sheikh Mohammed pioneered the use of social media in the region to communicate with the people. Today, he is a leading example for utilising Facebook and Twitter for citizen engagement. His followers on Twitter exceed one million followers."
"Social media tools have proven to be successful channels of communication between the government and the public. Adopting them as effective and low-cost means of communication at government entities is essential. At the same time, however, we have to be aware of their potential risks and be prepared to face them," he added.
Several government entities in the UAE are using eParticipation and social media channels to communicate with the public and respond to their queries. These channels include discussion forums, blogs, surveys, online chat in addition to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, among others.
The UAE's efforts in the field of eParticipation were acknowledge in the United Nations E-Government Survey 2012. The UAE was placed at 6th rank globally on the eParticipation against; up from 86th rank in the 2010 report.
The GCC Government Social Media Summit provides a platform for experts in the field of social media to share their knowledge and key strategies for government entities to bring about effective communication with their citizens through social media.