The case demonstrates how the mayor of Newark used social media to address pressing issues affecting his people. Social media did not only help him understand such issues in real-time, but it also helped him communicate on time about his personal efforts in addressing the problem. Furthermore, he used the social media platform to demonstrate his leadership competencies, thereby instilling confidence in his people as he was viewed as a capable leader with hands-on skills. True leaders really lead by example.
- Comparing Bloomberg’s and Booker’s strategies
Bloomberg faced a problem of lesser magnitude compared to Booker because some of the New York streets were passable. The fact that one street was plowed clean while the dead-end streets remained snow-chocked is an indication that Bloomberg is quite incompetent in accomplishing tasks successfully (Kettle 2015, 295). His acknowledgement that many New Yorkers are suffering serious hardships also failed to demonstrate his leadership skills as he was distancing himself from being accountable to the problem. This is because the snow problem is a periodic phenomenon whose subsequent occurrence could have been addressed through proper planning by the mayor’s office. Furthermore, the statement that the world has not come to an end is more sarcastic, and does not show respect and a sense of responsibility to the people he is entitled to govern. Bloomberg’s statements show no sense of regret or apologies to the people, but instead depict the situation as natural and one that requires tolerance on the part of the people. Bloomberg lacks effective communication skills as he is using a newspaper to receive updates and communicate to his people about the snow problem. This implies that he is incapable of communicating and understanding problems facing his people in real-time as newspapers only disseminate information the following day to a limited number of people. Conversely, Booker, the Newark Mayor, appears to personal initiative in helping his people overcome the snow problems urgently (Kettle 2015, 295). Booker is also using social media to communicate with his people in real-time, thus helping them overcome challenges in the shortest time possible. He also uses social media to demonstrate to the electorate his leadership competencies in addressing the problems facing them, which is his duty to the people. He also exhibits courtesy and respect in his communication. Therefore, it is evident that social media is a more effective tool for communicating in real-time during a crisis.
Impacts of social media in decision-making and accountability
Social media has positively transformed the decision-making landscape as it has enabled people participate in decision-making process regardless of their social status, geographical location, and even time of the day. Through social media, officials can have an insight into the various perspectives of the people regarding particular issues affecting the society. This enables them come up with decisions that are largely acceptable to the people as they appear to address their concerns. Officials have also used social media to enhance their public image and improve their relations with the public by consulting them on various issues. For example, Booker used social media to demonstrate his ability to make quick decisions in addressing challenges requiring urgent answers and actions (Kettle 2015, 295). Social media has also improved the way in which accountability for public decisions works. The people can almost instantly express their dissatisfactions with how officials make public decisions as they are constantly watching them. Finally, social media has also been used to mobile populations against public officials implicated in unacceptable behaviors, to the extent that some are removed from office.
Risks decision-maker may be personally identified with individual actions on the frontlines.
Although the Mayor’s decision to be practically involved in addressing a problem may appear as an essential leadership quality, it risks making the decision-maker personally identified with individual actions on the frontlines. Expecting public officials to be accountable for their action does not necessary imply that they should be practically involved in accomplishing tasks. They can achieve this by delegating responsibilities to fasten task accomplishment while also empowering the subordinates. In fact, such leadership positions should encourage empowerment as a means of addressing challenges. A mayor practically involved in addressing a problem that should be undertaken by subordinate staff risks losing his/her commanding power as his attention in addressing the overall problem may be compromised. The question of who makes which decisions can be addressed effectively delegating decision-making responsibilities and clearly outlining the tasks to be accomplished the individuals to avoid role-conflict in decision-making.
Kettle, Donald F. 2015. Politics of the administrative process. 6th ed. Washington, DC: Sage CQ Press.