Saturday, March 14, 2009

REACH out???

I received a letter by post from REACH today. REACH is a movement by the Singapore government to encourage ground feedback on shaping government policies and to engage more Singaporeans in country affairs. But this letter has left me quite baffled.

It says, "... Attached is a simple survey form which will take about five minutes to complete. Please update your particulars as well, and send it back to us via EMAIL." And indeed, attached is a two page survey form. The entire letter package includes a return envelope, a cover letter and a 2 page survey form. My rational is... since a cover letter has been attached, why can't they just send the userid, a new password and a URL LINK to the survey instead? Now they are asking US to TYPE in a TWO-PAGE survey via EMAIL and send it back. This doesn't makes sense because MOST of us don't take the trouble despite they promised a token, no one really cares. Secondly, their staff would have to take the trouble and time to document each email and tabulate the information properly, then update their system to ensure the particulars are updated. The entire process-flow don't make sense to me?!?!? And it is NOT environmental-friendly.

And the best part is... this is what is written from their website.
Besides conducting dialogue and tea sessions, we will also work closely with the mainstream media to convey key issues, as well as tap on new media such as SMS and blogs to engage more Singaporeans, especially the net-savvy generation.
Ahhem... and the best part is... "especially the net-savvy generation". What makes them think the net-savvy generation is going to reply a SNAIL MAIL and take the trouble to type out an entire survey form? Well, I did write an email to them, to explain why I don't think this is a good idea. And I insist I'm not typing out the survey form. If they want, they can setup an online link to facilitate that.

Obviously, this blog posting might sound like I'm unreasonable to some people. But REACH has a facebook group, which they did not "invite" their entire online membership to join. (At least I had never received any invitation before, despite I found the group and joined anyway). There are 249 discussion topics on the group, where the most heated discussion has a pathetic number of 12posts by 7 people. REACH has a Twitter account with barely 27 followers. It seemed whoever initiated that had a good idea that didn't quite push it through. I would like to repeat. USING the social media is not equal to UTILIZING the social media. It doesn't mean putting someone on the job IS doing the job. Although putting someone on the job is an improvement to having no one at all.

Every government agency is pressured to pick up social media skills to engage the new-age Singaporeans. But it must be understood this job is a niche by itself and cannot be filled in by simply "any marcom" executive. I don't know how well each of these portal is working, but I think there are too "excluded" instead of being "included". If I don't have a business on these sites, I can't be bothered to check it out. The "publishing" factor is still stronger than the "engaging" factor. I suspect they are on the wrong track from the start. STILL, trying is better than not trying at all.

But PLEASE, don't try to send me a snail mail again asking for an email reply. That's dumb.

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