The Public Sector & The Social Media Opportunity


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Presentation at Social Media & Public Sector Communications conference (21 Sep 11)

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The Public Sector & The Social Media Opportunity

  1. 1. Social Media & The Public Sector Martin Thomas @crowdsurfing
  2. 2. An Exciting Future <ul><li>Social media as a transformational force within the public sector  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Empowering communities & electorates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Holding public bodies/officials to account </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Revitalising local & national democracy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Shaping policy & spending decisions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborating in delivery of services </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promoting understanding of public service challenges </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creating or enhancing services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Saving money </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. An Organisational & Cultural Challenge <ul><li>Social media is driving new behaviours & heightened expectations </li></ul>“ Amplifying the volume of moaning” Instant access, instant response, instant gratification “living life through shortcuts” MTV “ The trouble with McDonald’s is it’s too bloody slow” Real time problem solving  Real time expectations
  4. 4. An Organisational & Cultural Challenge <ul><li>Social media is driving new behaviours & heightened expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Dramatizing institutions’ structural, operational & cultural weaknesses </li></ul>Connected Consumer meets Disconnected Institution
  5. 5. “ Digital communications is a destabilizing force in a bureaucratic environment. And I am sitting right in the middle of a bureaucratic environment.’” Senior corporate communications director “ We’re not set up for this shit” UK CEO
  6. 6. Thriving by Loosening Up <ul><li>Operational & cultural traits of successful organisations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Trusting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agile </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborative </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Tight Thinkers Need Not Apply <ul><li>Organisations & people that struggle with this new world </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hierarchical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bureaucratic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Process oriented </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distrustful </li></ul></ul>90% of public sector bodies restrict staff use of social media to some extent (Socitm 2010) 67% block access entirely (v. 20% in private sector) (Socitm 2010)
  8. 8. 1. Trusting <ul><li>Bedrock of strong internal culture </li></ul><ul><li>Allows shared responsibility & real time decision making </li></ul><ul><li>The best company rulebook ever written? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Nordstrom Revisited “ Prescriptive rules have the effect of infantilising staff & make it harder for them to adapt to different situations. This goes as much for digital communications as for selling socks … Like the Nordstrom handbook we’re trusting staff to follow the spirit, not just the letter, of our guidelines” Meg Pickard, writing about The Guardian’s new social media guidelines, November 2010
  10. 10. How to Build an Empire “ Presumed Competence”
  11. 11. 2. Open <ul><li>Transparency & honesty non negotiable </li></ul><ul><li>Capable of transforming reputations </li></ul><ul><li>Thicker skins essential </li></ul>
  12. 12. 3. Agile <ul><li>Ability to improvise & operate in close to real time rather than institutional time </li></ul>
  13. 13. 4. Informal <ul><li>Authenticity & timeliness more important than production values </li></ul>
  14. 14. 4. Informal <ul><li>Being willing to show a human face </li></ul>“ On the internet people love to have a more personal relationship with their elected officials” (Barak Obama at launch of 2012 campaign video)
  15. 15. 5. Collaborative <ul><li>Tapping into spirit of collective self expression </li></ul><ul><li>Leveraging people’s willingness to shape service & product offers </li></ul>
  16. 16. The Power of Communities Mutualisation: Collaborating with readers and communities to better understand, explore or reflect situations, topics, perspectives or experiences
  17. 17. The Power of Communities <ul><li>Over £200k saved </li></ul><ul><li>Over 250 photography ambassadors </li></ul><ul><li>50 million views </li></ul>
  18. 18. A Great Big Caveat of UK population is not online (Race 2012) UK internet users do not use any form of social media of UK internet users do not  regularly participate in discussion forums do not post ratings & reviews eligible voters didn’t bother to turn out for last local elections in the UK  20% 8.4 m 88% 95% 20m
  19. 19. Thriving by Loosening Up <ul><ul><li>Trusting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agile </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborative </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. @crowdsurfing Get your organisation & culture right … & the social media will look after itself