Social networking as democratic accountability tool
The call for more active social network usage has recently been promoted by the Chairman of the Parliament, David Bakradze, who labeled the social network as an unique opportunity to enable citizens to directly post the question to the representative of the Government. According to Bakradze, active usage of the social network shall be priority for any state authority, the task of which to be in direct contact with people.
We decided to check how majoritarian deputies, who are elected through single-member district plurality system to represent their constituencies, use social network to communicate with their electorate. The social networking sites we checked: Facebook, Youtube and Twitter. Each majoritarian deputy is provided with a personal web-page, and we assessed the frequency of updates on it as well.
There are a number of MPs who actively utilize all the aforementioned social networking sites. For example, Archil Gegenava, majoritarian from Mtasminda district, has an extensive Facebook page with a lot of citizen inquiries, as well as Twitter and YouTube channel. Majoritarian from Saburtalo district, Giorgi Meladze, is also amongst the MPs who actively uses a personalized Facebook page to post updates on parliamentary activities and respond to regular citizen concerns and inquiries.
Nonetheless, the findings show that MPs generally rely on their personal web-pages to provide information on their parliamentary activities; this medium is one-way as citizens can’t make open comments or questions on the updates. The usage of Facebook, Youtube and Twitter is rare.
We believe that more active usage of social networking can bolster accountability and provide citizens with a platform where their concerns and questions will be heard, and we encourage all majoritarian MPs to follow the examples of their colleagues who are using social media effectively.
You can download the full research here.