Original Research

‘Here one moment, gone the next’: A framework for liquid communication generated through social media platforms in the Botswana public sector

Tshepho Mosweu, Mpho Ngoepe
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 21, No 1 | a1080 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v21i1.1080 | © 2019 Tshepho Mosweu, Mpho Ngoepe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 February 2019 | Published: 28 August 2019

About the author(s)

Tshepho Mosweu, Department of Library and Information Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana
Mpho Ngoepe, Department of Information Science, School of Arts, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: In Botswana, the public sector has been fully active in utilising social media platforms as part of the e-government programme, thereby generating liquid communication in the process. The content in social media platforms, which is referred to as liquid communication, is so fluid that its management becomes a challenge. This is so because one moment a post is available on a social media platform and the next moment it disappears. The unstable nature of liquid communication calls for its governance according to established national and international records management principles.

Objectives: This study utilised the principles of information governance of the Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA) as a theoretical framework to examine how liquid communication generated through social media platforms is governed by the Botswana government.

Method: Qualitative data were collected through document analysis and interviews with officials from government departments concerned with the management of information.

Results: The study revealed that despite the active presence on social media by the Government of Botswana in communicating with the public, there is a lack of a framework to govern liquid communication. This resulted in weak accountability, protection, compliance, transparency and integrity, as well as retention and disposition for governance of liquid communication.

Conclusion: The study concludes by arguing that failure to manage and preserve liquid communication would result in a loss of digital heritage for the country. A framework for liquid communication governance in the Botswana public sector is suggested.


Keywords

Liquid communication; social media; information governance; public sector; botswana.

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