Oman is one of the most absolutist states in the world, with political power resting almost entirely within the Sultan’s hands. Yet this gave citizens a feeling that was not possible before: that their concerns are matters of importance to the government. Twitter becomes a two-way communication channel for working towards social change, not just a one-way broadcast for promoting celebrities or for delivering government pronouncements.
Now, the civil service in Oman is adopting Twitter as part of its provision of public services. A similar approach has been taken elsewhere, for example the small Spanish town of Jun, where the mayor has put every municipal department on Twitter, encouraging citizens to contact them using that public forum. But in this case the approach has been scaled up to an entire country.
Digital government in Oman
We examined how Twitter was being used in Oman and to what effect. Our research revealed that Omani citizens found Twitter to be “empowering”, as it allows them to identify matters of concern and seek rapid responses and resolutions – something that was a rarity in the past….(More)”