Most poll respondents prefer communicating with government via email Government June 27, 2012June 28, 20120 According to an online opinion poll conducted through the official portal of the UAE Government (government.ae), 66.5 per cent of the respondents prefer email to other channels in dealing with government entities. The poll question asks participants, “How do you prefer to communicate with government entities?” The options to choose from are: “email”, “Go there personally”, “SMS”, “Facebook, Twitter, Forum, etc.”, and “Other.” More than 2100 people participated in the poll. Of them, 14 per cent prefer to visit the entity to complete their transactions, 12 per cent prefer to communicate through SMS, while only around 6% prefer social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, discussion forums and similar channels. Commenting on the results of the poll, H. E. Salem Khamis Al Shair Al Suwaidi, Deputy Director General for Information and eGovernment Sector, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), said that the poll reflects only the opinions of the portal users and that it is not based on a scientific surveying methodology. Al Suwaidi noted that many people have reservations about using social media to contact the government especially when it comes to sharing personal data and transactions due to the lack of privacy on such tools compared to emails. However, Al Suwaidi stressed that it is necessary that government entities communicate with the public using all available channels including social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. “I would like to take this opportunity to stress on the importance of social media tools as new channels to communicate with the public. These channels should be added to the list of traditional means of communication with the public especially in dealing with complaints and enquiries,” Al Suwaidi said. In 2011, The telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) issued the ‘Guidelines for Social Media Usage’ for government entities in the UAE’ document to provide government entities in the UAE with policy guidelines on how to use Social Media tools in responsible, safe and effective manners to communicate with the public and engage them in the decision making process. The official portal of the UAE Government (government.ae) adopts various channels to communicate with the public including social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Users can also communicate with the eGovernment through a discussion forum, a blog and an online chat service.