Social media is an effective tool for engaging a community. Most of the time, people use social media as a tool for enjoying leisure time; this fact overshadows some of the beneficial uses of social media. Across the globe, social media is being utilised in the most efficient ways for community engagement. This trend is also expediting in Pakistan as most people use social media as an effective communication tool. Similarly, social media is being used as an effective tool for improving public services and a medium of connection with higher authorities.
Graana.com, through this blog, highlights how cities can be made more interactive by making comprehensive use of social media.
The European Union has also worked on a policy that involves social media as a medium for involving citizens in the city’s decision-making. Similarly, social media is being used as an effective tool for increasing urban mobility in the cities.
How can Social Media help?
Around the world, there are a variety of social media platforms operating in different capacities. Social media is helping to form virtual communities where other users are linked through different social media platforms. Social media has made the collection of data and information convenient, enabling cities to make cities more interactive. As per the data, the number of active social media users in January 2021 was recorded at 4.2bn.
Few examples can be depicted from the patterns observed in the daily usage of social media. For example, Twitter has been used as a platform for data collection by creating polls based on different questions on urban issues.
Similarly, there are different pages on Facebook dedicated to raising awareness on maintaining cleanliness in the cities. Verified pages of various authorities have been vibrant in taking the responses of the citizens, their opinions, and comments.
Linkedin is another platform that is proving helpful in creating linkages between professionals. The professionals who mainly focus on evolving urban scholarships can interact together and give new policy recommendations for the cities. Similarly, Instagram is also becoming a trending platform for raising awareness, traffic situation, and overall environment of the cities.
Resolving Mobility Issues
Social media is a suitable platform for resolving the issues pertaining to urban mobility. Various official pages of traffic and transport authorities are operating on various social media platforms, continuously informing people about the traffic situation and alternate traffic routes to be used in rush hours. Authorities operating public transports also use social media to make the travelling experience of the people better. Social media is a useful tool of data collection that can improve the experiences of people. The city of Palma in Spain uses Facebook and Twitter for public bus companies.
Increased Connectivity with Municipalities
One of the foremost advantages of using social media platforms for creating interactive cities is increased connectivity with municipalities. The pages of offices of local municipalities often operate on social media channels in order to inform the people about the various development activities in the country. Similarly, local authorities initiate different drives on social media platforms which are necessary tools for engaging the public to better the cities. The awareness-raising campaigns are often initiated on Facebook, which is an important tool of community engagement. Social media platforms are an important tool of e-governance where the issues pertaining to the governance of cities can be easily resolved.
Various social media platforms are contributing towards e-governance. The modern states are incorporating social media platforms for improving governance and public service delivery. The life of urban dwellers can be made easy if public departments are easy to access and social media as a tool of engaging people can prove beneficial. ‘Citizen’s Portal’ is one of the tools for engaging the public and improving service delivery. People can get easy redressal for their issues.
Important Tool for Smart Cities
Social media is also becoming a tool behind the evolution of smart cities. Social media platforms have created ripples in the lives of urban dwellers. Social media is developing a platform for enhancing dialogue among the residents of a city.