How can the UN use new digital media to connect and communicate with the global community in a meaningful and influential way?
I do remember that last month I had Chinese exam by skype, our teacher went for vacation for one week to France and she told that she will be at skype and someone will take her position from administration member to moderate the exam, she sent to us voice note by WhatsApp program by mobile phone for listening test and if we have questions about exam, we asked her by skype. Even if the leaders of the countries or the Ambassadors cannot attend the meeting the in United Nation they can use an official website like live website that can’t be hacked.
Did you know that Kim Kardashian has 44.5 million followers more than the United Nations on twitter? How can one person who has no effect on global peace and security, human rights and no role in upholding international law, be more popular than an organization tasked with promoting international cooperation and maintaining international order? Should this be acceptable? The UN does not even rank in the top 100 people followed on twitter! This must change. With the growing importance of social media, the UN must be more creative in adapting to the new world order and be on the front line of social media to be more in touch with the global community.
The UN must increase its presence on twitter to further promote its policies and daily activities, this can be through using the “Hashtag”. It also should be more active in responding to people’s concerns and enquires via twitter. In addition, it should get all senior UN officials on social media in an authentic, engaging and purposeful way.
Snapchat is another tool that is growing in importance and popularity. I was kind of surprised to find out that the UN has an account, and I have been monitoring it for the past week and it barely uses it. This is a big mistake. The UN should strive to be creative and take daily snaps of its functions, sessions, advertise and promote its work, get senior officials to comment on important hot topics. This will not only increase its transparency but also younger generations and reach global citizens which will help them understand how the UN is still relevant. A fun creative initiative can be to have different UN staff at different levels manage the account for a day, to communicate to the world how it is like to work at the UN and how it functions.
The UN should also create an online platform for genuine policy debate, this will allow global citizens to give their opinions and give recommendations to help tackle big global challenges. Crowdsourcing solutions is innovative, it cut costs, and allows individuals to contribute to global policy which will make them feel relevant; building confidence between the UN and global citizens. In 2016, the UN launched an app called the UN millennium Development Goals which allows industry, government and citizens to track and promote the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals. It should create another app which allows people to communicate with UN staff directly. It can also launch a ‘topic of the day’ headed by a prominent official in the UN or a senior diplomat to be discussed and debated online where anyone in the world can join.
Nancy Grooves, UN social media team leader that the social media team is “surprisingly small”. The budget to this department should increase, social media is not going anywhere, it is only going to become more relevant. The UN must increase its presence in the global stage. It should hire experts from organizations such as Facebook, Instagram, and google to help train their team into becoming more effective in social media.
We already saw how ISIS, through the online forums, was successful in attracting thousands of people across the globe. To achieve its strategic goals, the UN must build a network with the global community. to increase its legitimacy and relevance. Trust building in an ever so threatening global environment in crucial, and given the importance of social media and digital tools today, the UN has to adapt if it does not want to be left behind.