Social Media Key to Citizen Engagement: 54% of Canadians Would Engage More with Government if There Were Ways to Participate Online

Youth most likely to engage more at 57%

VICTORIA, Sept. 27, 2011 /CNW/ - A recent Fleishman-Hillard public engagement survey revealed that Canadians would be more engaged in conversations on government policy if there were ways to participate online. The same study also revealed that a third of Canadians have an improved view of elected officials who use social media to engage with constituents.

The survey, conducted by Vision Critical in August 2011, found that 54% of those surveyed agreed to the statement, "I would be more engaged in conversations of government policy if there were ways to participate online." Agreement was strongest at 57% among those aged 18-35, followed by those 35-54 (53%) and 55+ (52%).  Youth were also more likely to access a government service if they heard about it online: 46% compared to 37% of those surveyed overall.

A younger demographic is most influenced by social media in terms of their perception of elected officials. For instance those aged 18-35 were most likely at 49% as compared to 33% of general population to favourably perceive elected officials using social media.

When asked "When you see that an elected official is using social media, to communicate with constituents, does this improve or worsen your perception of them?" of those surveyed, 33% overall said it did improve their perception. 53% said that it had no impact, while only 14% said it worsened their perception.

"Being present in social media is no longer an option for government," says Jennifer Torney, Senior Vice President of Fleishman-Hillard Vancouver. "Government organizations need to recognize the value in reaching out to the public through social media as an important aspect of meaningful citizen engagement."

Jennifer Torney and Katie Robb of Fleishman-Hillard Vancouver are delivering these poll results and advising government organizations on how to incorporate social media into their engagement strategies at the Advanced Learning Institute's Social Media for Government Conference, being held September 26-29 in Victoria, BC.

SOURCE Fleishman-Hillard Canada

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Jeremy Twigg

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