Social Media

Friday, 21 February 2014

How do we empower digital public servants?

by Chris Moore

Photo: Would you consider yourself a digital public servant? The public sector is currently in the midst of a digital revolution with many new and innovative means of communication. If you aren’t already, there are many different ways to become involved in this community. If you find yourself challenged by this task, the first step is to immerse yourself in the digitized world. Jumping in, immersing yourself, and supporting your own personal brand (among other tips) will help you on the way to becoming a digital public servant. Whether you are a digital newcomer, digital native, or hear yourself saying that you are simply too “busy” to engage with social media, visit the IPAC Impact Blog to join the conversation:

Three things you need to know about digital public servants:

1. We are experiencing a digital revolution.  In this revolution, public servants and citizens have access to new technology. We are at a nexus in the public service. There are citizens who expect traditional human to human interaction, and those who are looking for digital interaction.  Adding another dynamic, there is a wide spectrum of people serving the public. There are those who are digital natives (born into this digital world) and those who are digital newcomers (forced into the digital world).

2.  To understand digital media, you must immerse yourself in it.  Example, Twitter: Decide that there are ten or so people that you will follow, read their every tweet, understand who they are and what they are thinking. Do that for a month and you will understand Twitter. In my mind it is not the number of followers that matters, it is the quality of the people. The people I follow and the people that follow me are a choice. That is the great thing about Twitter and other social media tools-- it is an opt-in or opt-out world.

3.  10 Imperatives for social media.
            1)      Don’t be afraid - Jump IN - you no longer can control the message.
            2)      Immerse yourself.
            3)      Build community.
            4)      Embed #SocMed in your life/work.
            5)      Be one person online. This should be the same as who you are in person.   
            6)      Support your personal brand and your organization's brand.
            7)      Listen to the conversation.
            8)      Tell the story to your people so they see themselves in #socmed.
            9)      Provide tools, such as policies and directives.
          10)      Invite others to join you in the community and the conversation.

Three myths about digital public servants:

Myth #1: If you are a digital newcomer, you are at a disadvantage to digital natives.

The Reality: This is only true if you do not engage. Here is my advice for digital newcomers:

      1    -      Challenge yourself to be part of the digital age.
      2    -      Be the same person online that you are in your non-digital life.
      3    -      Listen first, then engage.
      4    -      Ask questions.
      5    -      Stay relevant.

Myth #2: Digital natives have lost the ability to communicate in person.

The Reality: Digital natives have not lost the ability to communicate in person, they have just grown up with a new medium of interaction.  Here is my advice for digital natives:                              
       1     -      Challenge yourself to take the perspective of the digital newcomer.
       2     -      Be the same person online that you are in your non-digital life.
       3     -      Be a guide in the new land for the newcomers.
       4     -      Bridge the gaps you see from your perspective.
       5     -      Balance human with digital interaction.

Myth #3: I am too busy to use social media.

The Reality: So many people I talk to feel that they don’t have time to spend on all these social media platforms; I encourage them to consider that it is not about time, it is about priorities. People who choose to make social media a priority are people who are building and growing relationships beyond traditional human interactions.

Chris Moore is the Chief Information Officer at the City of Edmonton.  He provides vision for, and leadership of, the City’s information and technology direction.  Chris partners with local and global organizations to foster Edmonton’s role as a technology leader. In addition to being a founding member of the World eGovernments Organization, he has spoken to audiences all over the world about his experience and ideas for technology in government.  Chris finds fulfillment and freedom in his work and as a leader he desires to see those around him attain fulfillment and freedom as well.  He is an advocate of an Open Ecosystem, Open Government and Open Data. Chris pushes his team to embrace innovation, pursue the possible and build a great city together.  @_Chris_Moore

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