skip to main content
Close Icon We use cookies to improve your website experience.  To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy.  By continuing to use the website, you consent to our use of cookies.
Global Search Configuration

Ovum view


Conversations with public sector delegates at the Ovum Industry Congress 2015 revealed a tension between a desire to make the most of the opportunities presented by social media and a fear of its anarchic qualities. These anarchic qualities are what make it so useful, and tools are available to help governments process the deluge and better respond to citizen concerns.

Social media should be seen as an opportunity, not a threat

When the topic of using social media to improve public services came up in discussions with public sector delegates from around the world at this year’s Ovum Industry Congress, many expressed frustration at the difficulty of identifying relevant information amid the deluge of tweets and fear of the impact of publicly visible complaints.

Social media expands the opportunities to improve services and identify failures by creating an open and neutral platform via which citizens can provide feedback. Governments can encourage this by starting conversations about public services marked with appropriate hashtags. Web experience management (WEM) software can be used to manage these efforts and analyze the responses, helping governments to identify public service failures and make improvements.

A minority of delegates seemed uncomfortable with the public nature of these interactions, particularly when they involve complaints. However, complaints will be public and social media users will discuss them in public whether government engages or not. Failure to engage will only leave it looking unresponsive and disinterested. The best response is to make the most of the situation and see how unadulterated public scrutiny can lead to better policy.

It is probably true that engaging will, over time, “normalize” social media as a conventional platform for interacting with government and thus encourage more citizens to use it for this purpose. But this should be encouraged, not feared. Social media is an anarchic force that gives individuals greater autonomous power to express themselves – and it is all the better for it.


Further reading

Social media risk must be responsibly managed in the same way as other risk types, IT0018-001473 (April 2015)

Framework: Social Media and Analytics Strategy, IT0014-002966 (November 2014)

The Business Advantage of Analytics in Social Media, IT0014-002928 (June 2014)

How Telcos Can Leverage Social Media to Improve Customer Experience, TE010-000336 (November 2013)

“Surge in social media pushes telcos to embrace realtime customer assistance” IT0024-000084 (July 2014)


Nick Wallace, Analyst, Public Sector

Recommended Articles

  • Service Provider Markets, Consumer & Entertainment Services,...

    MWC 2018 Highlights

    By Ronan De Renesse 27 Feb 2018

    Over 20 of our senior Ovum analysts and consultants attended this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of February. In between meetings, briefings and presentations, our analyst team were blogging and tweeting about key developments, trends and rumors. Have a look through our daily MWC 2018 Highlights to find out what happened.

    Topics 5G AI IoT Cloud Payments SDN/NFV Smart home

  • Internet of Things

    IoT Viewpoints 2018

    IoT Viewpoints explore the IoT opportunity in 2018 and beyond. Download our latest e-book to get our newest collection of thought leadership articles on the emerging IoT trends, technologies and opportunities.

    Topics IoT

  • Consumer & Entertainment Services

    US pay TV: Is it facing an existential threat?

    By Adam Thomas 28 Mar 2018

    With US pay TV having endured the worst year in its history, thoughts have inevitably turned to the future. The likelihood remains that the immediate future will remain highly uncomfortable for everyone except the scaled multinational digital platforms.


Have any questions? Speak to a Specialist

Europe, Middle East & Africa team - +44 (0) 207 017 7700

Asia-Pacific team - +61 (0)3 960 16700

US team - +1 646 957 8878

Email us at

You can also contact your named/allocated Client Services Executive using their direct dial.
PR enquiries - Call us at +44 788 597 5160 or email us at

Contact marketing -

Already an Ovum client? Login to the Knowledge Center now