With the rise of fake news, the Singapore Government is undertaking the necessary steps to prevent misinformation and the spread of false information among citizens. One of the initiatives to tackle fake news is Postman. Postman is a mass communication platform for the Government to communicate with citizens. It allows the Government to send the most up-to-date and official mass messages and announcements to all subscribed Singaporeans and is available in four different modes of contact – WhatsApp, Telegram, Email and SMS. All public sector agencies can sign up for Postman using .gov.sg email accounts here.
What is Postman?
Postman is a mass messaging system for the Government to send announcements to a large pool of citizens at once. The system is handed a long list of recipients, a template and a channel to send the message through and will handle the rate limits, retries, and progress/failure reporting of the announcement.
However, because announcements sent via email and SMS through Postman are not 100% protected, senders are advised to exercise caution about the content of the messages sent and avoid inputting any sensitive information when utilising email and SMS functions. Recipients of mass messages containing official information are also able to the check the authenticity of the message via this link.
Why Should Postman be Adopted?
The benefits to adopting Postman are as shown below.
Simplified and customisable messages: The instructions to customise messages are simple to follow and straightforward. First a message template has to be created before the relevant files can be uploaded onto the template. After which, Postman will be able to craft and send the message to the target audience.
Multiplatform reach: Postman can mass send announcements over various platforms, reducing the time needed to send out messages personally. Instead of scrolling through countless emails and phone numbers of recipients, Postman allows messages to be sent with one click of a button.
Performance tracking through analytics: Postman tracks campaign progress and statistics and this can serve as a feedback tool on areas of improvement for the message sent. Campaign statistics is generated once sending begins but to get a full view of the entire campaign performance, users can check back when it is the campaign is completed.
How Do You Use Postman?
Step 1: Messages can be crafted using the template shown above. Customisation of the template is also possible and templates can be adapted in various styles including for generic messages sent to the public, appointment reminders and unique messages for specific individuals.
Step 2: Uploading of recipient lists in CSV format is done next. A sample .csv file can also be downloaded on the page itself for reference.
Step 3: The message can now be sent!
For more specific guides for utilising Postman, refer to this link.
A fun fact for all subscribers to the gov.sg WhatApp channel; the channel was created using Postman! Created to tackle the numerous citizen queries during the COVID-19 pandemic, Postman has allowed the government to send up to a million messages in less than half an hour through this channel. This ensures that citizens can receive accurate public health information during the pandemic and limits the rise of fake news in Singapore.
Organisations with and without a government issued email are also eligible to use Postman. While public officers can sign up for Postman using their government issued email, organisations without a government issued email can now sign up as well. For instance, Singapore hospitals now use Postman to send COVID-19 test results to those who did swab tests.
Looking forward, the Postman team has opened up volunteering opportunities to help improve Postman’s functionalities.
Areas for volunteers where can help include:
- Assisting with the development of the underlying messaging infrastructure for mass messaging, dealing with rate limits, retry logic etc.
- Platform specific integration with other channels such as Telegram, Facebook, Messenger etc.
- Fronted web development to develop an interface simple enough for non-technical government officers to use.
By volunteering with the Postman team, you can be a part of Singapore’s fight against fake news. For example, by improving the Postman interface and making it more user friendly, uptake among government agencies may increase and this will mean that citizens will then be able to receive timely and accurate information from a wider range of government agencies through an improved Postman platform.
Volunteering will also grant you the gain the chance to work with GovTech’s professional developers who have worked on COVID-19 projects for GovTech and Open Government Products.
For enquiries, contact the Postman team here.
Last updated 19 July 2021
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