A week is a long time in politics
Well…. please forgive my lack of appreciation of the passage of time, I’m trying to adjust to a new pace of life and my body mind clock is all over the place.
In fact it’s been a month since I left the civil service, and a lot has happened – both personally and back in Whitehall. I’ve not really kept up with it all as I have been without decent connectivity for much of the time.
But catching up with messages and feeds the thing that sticks out is the fuss about the new government director of digital engagement role. Simon suggests that someone called my bluff. I don’t think so exactly. Its good to see the government beginning to take this seriously, but it is the beginning and one job (with a seemingly impossible job description too) not a sea change yet.
I’m not going to go over all the very good issues and perspectives that have been raised about this role, you’ve probably seen it all already if you’re interested in the issue.
A couple of points from my perspective:
- It’s unequivocally a *good* thing, whatever the media might think, whatever the dangers of it going wrong. Doing something is better than nothing – which is why we are where we are.
- It would be an even better thing if whoever gets the job recognises / supports / harnesses all the good stuff already going on and those who have been responsible for doing it. The value is in the network, not in the concept. There is a danger that someone coming in might want to do it their way and ignore what has already happened. But as I say above, doing something is better than nothing.
- The job description looks impossible and, I think, slightly misses the point. There is no director of engagement in government (you might argue there is no culture of engagement either) so this raises the bar and expectations well above where they should be. The fact that there seems to be little or no money / resource / control to deliver this stuff also makes the gig look tricky. But not impossible.
I’m going to watch this one with great interest.
Incidentally, as I write this I’m listening to Ryan Tubridy on the radio (he’s kinda the Simon Mayo of Irish radio but also has a very popular late night TV chat show so he’s part Jonathan Ross too). He’s talking to some well known Irish bloggers (including the great Damian Mulley) and accusing bloggers in general of being narcisistic and vain, liking the sound of their own voice etc etc (I paraphrase).
Words simply fail me. Its bad enough when the papers rack on about the ‘twitter tsar’ but when highly paid media personalities start accusing others of being narcisistic and vain I think they really really don’t get *it* at all.
The future is online – I’m glad the government realises it.