Six models / approaches for social media adoption or implementation

The title of this post refers to a piece of work I did as part of the GCN social media review about a a year and a half ago. Unfortunately it never got into the final document (and in fact it was cruelly taken from me and remodelled without attribution. But that’s another story….).

I’ve been revisiting it recently for all sorts of reasons and thought it would be worth posting up here, partly because of the conversations that have been going on recently about deploying social media tools in government (Emma’s musings about creating social media toolkits in particular), partly because I think its still relevant, and partly because – although I in no way claim the content of this work is original (it’s not) – its a distillation of my thoughts at the time that I thought may be useful to someone now.

This model is an attempt to set out six different approaches to using or deploying social media techniques; be that for a particular tool, channel, business need, or whole organisational approach. It is not meant to be prescriptive, neither does it necessarily describe a roadmap that must be followed from early stage adoption through to embedding organisationally. It is based on wide reading, observation and practice but – primarily – mainly – my personal opinion.

It really just sets out options, six in total. My concern at the time of writing was that government is good at the first or the last – either do nothing or do everything. Of course, this loses sight of the opportunities that the other options might present. So I’ll deal with each option separately – and I’m grateful for any thoughts or criticisms. After all, this has been knocking around in my head for a long while as a concept without sharing it widely and i’d welcome ideas on how to improve it.

So, the six options to the modelfall under three overarching principles: observation – interaction – initiation.

  • Observation: Do nothing or Listen
  • Interaction: Reflect or Converse
  • Initiation: Experiment or Embed

In the next few posts, I’ll set out what I mean by each of these options (ooh, what a tease).

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