President Noynoy Aquino launched his new website today. It’s definitely a huge improvement over President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s website. To those who saw the former President’s website, it was a Web 1.5 standard dinosaur which was rarely mentioned or promoted. More than the design, one major thing that the Aquino administration is doing is building hype and generating attention for the Presidential website via PR blitzes. For that I believe that Communications Group deserves applause. The new website, according to the developers and the Communications Secretary, aims to serve as a feedback mechanism for the President. I just have a few comments on this that I’d like to share in this post.
I won’t talk about the design but I do have a lot of recommendations that I’ll e-mail the privately to the developers. What I’d like to talk about in this entry though is their “Feedback Mechanism” and how they’re tapping Social Media.
Feedback Gathering Mechanism
Right now the only way the website actually gathers feedback is through comments on the TRANSPARENT GOVERNMENT section of the website. You put your name, e-mail, address, and then your comments. The entries are then posted on the page for everyone’s perusal. This is well and good but I think the administration and management of this system is a nightmare to deal with. Feedback is only as good as the reaction/response that it receives. I strongly suggest that the Communications Group make some form of filtering so that all comments are categorized properly. For example, you can break it down to: Messages for PNOY, Corruption Reports, Program Feedback (then divide by program), etc. That way the administrator can easily make reports for the consumption of the President and the related government executive. The filtering mechanism doesn’t have to be too advanced or complex. It can be a simple drop down menu.
Social Media Integration
Secretary Coloma in his announcement mentioned in that Social Media would figure a lot in the President’s website. I’m a bit confused with this particular statement. When they announced this I was looking forward to seeing customized interactive plug-ins similar to how US President Barack Obama and the White House are doing. Instead what’s there is just buttons with links to the official accounts of President Aquino on Twitter, Facebook, Friendster, Multiply, and Youtube. Here’s the announcement that I was talking about:
Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications Office for Operations told government-run radio station dzRB that the website www.president.gov.ph would carry social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.
A Facebook homepage in the presidential website will allow the public to air their sentiments online.
Another thing I don’t quite get it the existence of two official President Noynoy Aquino Facebook pages. The one currently linked in the new site goes to a newly created page which was different from the one used in the recent campaign which has more than 1.5M fans.
Anyway, all-in-all this is definitely a step in the right direction. However there still so many improvements that the Communications Team can implement which will make the website more effective. Same comment goes for their social media strategy. I hope this isn’t it already and we’ll see upgrades in the coming months.