Social media has changed the way we view the world and so it makes sense that government organisations like the Punjab Police, Punjab Traffic Wardens and Food Development Authority (FDA) are using social media to change the way we view them. In a laudable effort these organisations are very active on Facebook, posting pictures of new initiatives taken of servicemen toiling hard in the heat in Ramazan while doing their jobs, discouraging bribery, and prompting traffic safety. This has helped the public to engage with them and inform them of any grievances. The respective Facebook pages have amassed a considerable fan following, which is heartening to see, as law enforcement agencies and the average Pakistani citizen has had a barely tolerant, if not antagonistic relationship, to say the least.

The FDA has been particularly active, posting pictures of unhygienic and run down eateries, targeting both big and small establishments. This comes as a welcome initiative as hundreds of men, women and children are admitted into hospitals for the treatment of gastroenteritis every year. This is an easily avoidable disease if one ensures the intake of clean and hygienic food and eating conditions. The fact that they seal the restaurants and post a picture of the place and their kitchens on Facebook, guarantees the safety of consumers who fall prey to eating such substandard food items.

Additionally, the pictures have an infotainment value, something that the Pakistani public has come to require from the television and Internet.

On a more serious note, our police forces are far behind in tapping the massive potential of Facebook to solve crimes. This is being done in other parts of the world as police forces have recognised the power of informal networks. Social media today is a tool that can help in awareness and law enforcement. For local government bodies, improving public perception can go a long way to create mutual trust and respect for authorities that seems to be absent most of the time.