Gone are the days when the government used pamphlets, newspapers, radio, and television to communicate with its constituents. At least, according to the British government. Last week, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, was invited to advise the UK government on more effective communication.
The decision to pick Zuckerberg’s brain for communication is perhaps the Coalition Government’s acknowledgment that social networking sites — Facebook, Twitter et al. — are the most successful media for disseminating information and maintaining support. Given Zuckerberg’s recent prediction that his site would reach one billion users in the next few years — “it is almost a guarantee that it will happen,” he told the Guardian last week — the UK government seems to be on the right track.
And with signs that UK papers may be intending to put up paywalls (The Times is asking its readers to register an account, indicating possible plans to charge readers for access to content in the future), networking sites look like a good alternative to traditional media communication. At least these networking sites are still free, even if they have always required users to register accounts.