By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The use of social networking sites to promote Government policies and collect public opinions will be beneficial for society as a whole, said Leong Sin Man, director of the General Office of the Macau New Chinese Youth Association.
The Hong Kong Government promoted its recent political reform proposal on Facebook, the White House has its Facebook page and in mainland China there are also some online leaders forums.
“A lot of Governments in the world have begun to acknowledge the use of Internet to promote implementation of policies or increase channels for the public to express opinions,” she said.
“It is advantageous for the entire society.”
According to Leong, social networking sites allow more rapid news updates and there are many creative forms for young people to participate in society.
“For example, there are groups created on Facebook in response to current affairs and hot topics and users can express their opinions there. We have to make good use of this Internet platform.”
Leong says that conventional public consultation sessions may not work so well for young people, instead they prefer to express opinions in a way that they are fond of.
“But it depends on whether the Government is willing to gather young people’s opinions through this channel and how it plans to use this kind of online platforms.
“The world is promoting e-government and Macau has to pay more attention to the public opinions posted on the Internet,” she stressed.
Meanwhile, Angus Cheong, director of the Macau Internet Project has recently launched a new book that disclosed that as of the end of 2009, 50 percent of the Internet users in Macau were on Facebook and 60 percent had watched videos on YouTube.
Also, it was found that 44 percent of the Internet users had browsed or posted messages on online forums last year.
Cheong said once messages are posted on an open forum, attention can be easily drawn and the feedbacks from other Internet users will strengthen dissemination of the information and further expand the influences in society.
Hence, he urged the Government not to overlook the views expressed by Internet users on this kind of public platforms.