Whitehall’s really getting social media now

At the quarterly government heads of e-communication meeting this afternoon. Sure I’ve mentioned this little shindig before, a chance for head webbies from the various departments to get together chew the cud and solve the worlds problems…

No surprises that there has been a great deal of interest in social media over the last nine months or so (when we’ve managed to collectively draw breath over website rationalisation).

When I was working on the government communications social media review we discovered an awful lot of experimenting going on around departments, some of it good some of it not so good. The great thing was that it was happening, even if it didn’t always seem to be clearly defined. But the piloting was patchy, really confined to a few more forward thinking departments. Everyone else was keen to find out more and there was great appetite for this stuff.

That was around February / March time. The review was a good snapshot of activity at that time but its already out of date.

By early summer, appetites had been wetted and plans were being drawn up by others to invest (a lot of) time and (a little) money in utilising social media tools to prove their value (and to stop policy bods saying that they ‘wanted a blog’ without really knowing why).

Proof of the change in understanding can be seen in some recent innovations such as the Our NHS blog – using the technology in the right context and not just to use the technology.

But even that mindset has been overtaken. Today, the talk was about exploiting the range of tools and online communities to promote, explain and involve citizens in government policy initiatives. I don’t want to steal others’ thunder before anything gets released but there is some really exciting stuff just around the corner. I’ll let you know when it finally sees the light of day, but I’ll give you a hint: everyone’s favourite online politician and is involved. Simon Dickson will be so pleased he asked the question first….

  1. i think you need to be more lvely with your content ., rest is good!
    keep going!

  2. There seems to be a running theme here. You talk of all of the webbies getting together to chew the cud, and in previous blogs you have asked for you all to work together – only to get a resounding silence to your query about the PSF event. The social media revolution seems to be a great opportunity to try to begin putting your thoughts into practice. Surely there is an opportunity here for you to to co-operatively pull this together for the benefit of us citizens, government departments and possibly policy officials. You have a great network here of recognised professionals – you can be the enabler between your colleagues and the guys chomping on the bit out here in blog-land. I know that many people in government read your blog, is it not time that some people came forward and supported you here? Not meaning to do you down, of course, rather a call to arms…

  3. Jeremy – I’m finding some refreshing interest in social media in government – I’ve been invited to one departmental comms gathering to play a version of the game we pioneered with you at Department of Justice.
    http://tinyurl.com/2dsnp3 Ideas on updating welcome …

  4. Good to know that the impression is positive outside to. I’ll have a think about the game.

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