As time goes on, the internet has become an increasingly popular venue for both seeking and sharing opinions. From social platforms like Facebook and Twitter to niche online communities and forums, individuals flock to the internet in order to connect. In recent weeks, however, an entire country has used the power of crowdsourcing information in order to determine the best course of action for something incredibly important - the new design of a new flag.
Many were surprised by the potential change; especially the fact that New Zealand went to the masses in order to determine which design they wanted to consider switching to. As a country whos economy is strongly based on tourism, this was actually an incredibly good move from the tourism bureau's standpoint. Those visiting the country (or considering it) are encouraged to get engaged with the national identity and, if the country gives itself a positive image with outsiders, more people will be willing to come in and visit. On top of that, it's gotten New Zealand on people's minds - which is always a good thing if you're trying to get more people to come in and take a look at what the country has to offer.
The NEW New Zealand Flag: A Domestic Dispute
The issue with New Zealand's social approach to choosing a new flag is that it seems to undermine the opinions and importance of the country's own residents. Native New Zealanders don't seem to be really interested in what other people want from their flag - they want to make the decision themselves. Some news sources report that New Zealanders are offended by the fact that the government would go over their heads and ask the rest of the world. A recent poll even suggested that up to 60% or more of the country's people don't want the flag to change its appearance at all because of the iconic look that it's had since New Zealand became its own country over 175 years ago.
To make matters even more complicated, the flag design that was most preferred by native New Zealand voters who would be okay with the change is not even on the list of the "final four" that are available for voters to choose from. At this point, people in the country have been pushing to try and get it on the list so that residents of the country feel like they have more of a say and fair representation in their homeland.
Social Trends Guiding Government Decisions
There are lots of questions that come up with crowdsourcing in this way, of course. Will the results be something that the country, on the whole, will be happy with? And, on top of that, will the move to involve the international community in domestic decisions be followed by other nations looking to generate more tourism buzz? Even though the Union Jack of Great Britain and other iconic flags won't likely be changing anytime soon, it will be interesting to see what trends come out of New Zealand's non-traditional, but innovative, decision to allow global travelers to decide what the country's new flag should look like.