Archive for the ‘tactics’ Category

Energizer bunny

It just kept going and going and going and ...

At the end of last week, I made some tweaks to the #gc20 twitterbot I built — and today, the @gc_20 account started re-tweeting the same stuff over and over. Obviously stuck in a loop of some kind.

Of course, my little bot blew up while I was attending a training session — so I was nowhere near a PC for the whole day. At break this afternoon I made a valiant attempt to kill off the account via mobile, but that didn’t work — I kept getting errors partway through the confirmation process, so I couldn’t finish the job properly.

So it just kept on keeping on – as robots will when there’s nobody around to take care of them.

I’ve now managed (I think) to turn it off. About 15 hours after it started spewing garbage. That’s a long time in a 24-7, always on, realtime world.

Takeaway: when you are experimenting in Twitter, there’s nowhere to hide when things go wrong.

So if you are doing this kind of thing while representing your org, then it’s really important to keep close tabs on your creations — especially when you change how they work. And to make a contingency plan. Neither of which I did. ‘Course I created this thing without much forethought either. It was just a little experiment in getting the hang of building a hashtag bot. Which is another no-no if you are doing this more seriously — did I mention that it’s not a good idea to be going about this without a plan?

Anyhow, credit to my network — a couple of folks tipped me off (thanks !), otherwise @gc_20 might still be re-tweeting madly. Also credit to my peeps for not chewing me out for screwing it up. Then again, maybe they’re just practicing what mama taught them — “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

Still, if I was an org, this could have been very damaging. Annoying the audience is never a good idea.

Image credit: Creativity+ on Flickr

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Innovative HRSDC program Working in Canada has added another online point of presence – an embeddable widget.

Example of the Working in Canada widget in action

In addition to their social media presences, the Working in Canada team has now developed a code snippet that can be dropped on to any web page to allow access to the Working in Canada site. It’s a great way to spread awareness and distribute access points to the Working in Canada tool across the web.

It’s not fully self-serve (yet?) — if you want to add the widget to your site, you will need  to contact the program by email to request it.

The program appears to be doing some blogger outreach as well. I was contacted earlier this week by an analyst from the program alerting me to the launch of this latest feature. He pointed me to two examples of where the widget has already been deployed: www.peterboroughcareers.com and www.immigrationpeel.ca.

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I attended via conference call yesterday’s GoC Web 2.0 Communincations Community (GCpedia link) event featuring Brendan Hodgson from Hill and Knowlton. He was speaking about how news breaks online and what this means for crisis communications. He led us through the fantastic material he had collected in the wake of the US Airways Flight 1549 crash into the Hudson river in New York:

Tweets during the event were hashtagged – here they are via a Twitter Search for #w2cc. Mostly me blabbing away, with a few others piping up from time to time. For posterity, I’m collecting my own below with added links and additional info where relevant.

NB I joined the call a tad late due to technical glitches, so I didn’t catch the first bit.

spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: media consumption growing massively, but fragmentation also – so trad media suffering 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet

spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: ec. crisis exacerbates issues for trad media – we don’t need to rely on “the media” to share info 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet

spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: loss of journalistic control over info marketplace – increase in “noise” in comms environment 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet

spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: for govt comms, also opportunity to use our own sites w/o relying on “the media” 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet

So this is about the disintermediation theme — how the rise of the participatory web has disrupted media models, and then the current economic crisis has come along further destroying revenue, creating a perfect storm for the traditional news media. And opportunity for governments and other organizations to reach directly their audiences without relying on newspapers and TV broadcasters.

spaghetti_p: #w2cc: Brendan: sensationalism, speculation on the rise – culture of misinformation 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet

spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: misinfomation, speculation: can escalate issues into crisis very easily. need to be more transparent to fill credibility void 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet

spaghetti_p: #w2cc: comms shops no longer the voice of the org. all employees are communicators now given participatory web 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet

By “culture of misinformation,” I got the feeling that Brendan was referring as much to the traditional news media as to disgruntled employees powered by easy access to blogging technology. The idea being that newspapers and TV/radio networks are becoming more shrill, more sensationalistic in an effort to be heard in an increasingly crowded media environment.

spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: speed is the new imperative – think response to Motrin moms issue – ballooned into comms crisis over a weekend 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet

spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: guard against overreaction. social mediasphere can balloon minor issues 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet

Overreaction: Brendan noted that the “motrin moms” issue was about a poorly made commercial getting negative reactions in the blogosphere. Nobody was dying or losing their homes or anything. Motrin did react appropriately IMO — they responded within a few days with a straightforward apology, and removed the ad.

For some good info on the Motrin moms swarm, see this post from Jeremiah Owyang.

spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: activitists, stakeholders getting creative w/ misinformation (think parodies, spoofs) 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet

I didn’t catch everything here. Brendan mentioned some activists who had created a parody of a US government site (snagging the site’s look and feel) during the Bali climate change talks and issued a satirical news relase on it, which apparently fooled a lot of people. This caused the owners of the *real* site to spend a lot of time dealing with this crisis… when they should have been focusing on the Bali talks themselves. Would love to get some links for this, as I’m not familiar with this example and it sounds like a really good one for government communications.

spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: public apology via social media: authenticity (think JetBlue, Dell)- can help build empathy, understanding w/ stakeholders 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet
spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: social media allows you to be creative in reaction to crisis. e.g Maple Leaf Foods “reputation recovery site” post-lister … 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet

Re: Maple Leaf Foods — the honesty and transparency shown by company president Michael McCain was important here, including immediately going to YouTube with this statement and video of the cleanup effort. McCain showed good leadership in dealing with the issue. Info on the extent of Maple Leaf’s reputation rebound: near 30% rise in opinion rating from August 2008 to January 2009. Oh and here’s a good piece on the crisis from the Globe and Mail.

spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: show don’t just tell. Use images, video, not just words or text 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet
spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan:google, youtube effect: everything the org has said or done will live forever. potential for long term damage to org’l rep … 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet
spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: employees as brand guardians – guide them on appropriate online conduct. also beware rogue employees 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet

This last tweet: hope for the best, plan for the worst :+)

spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: how do we adapt strategies given all this? threats, opportunities can come from anywhere 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet
spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: where is the org vulnerable to social media risks? how when and where do you engage online influencers? 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet
spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: how can we be more effective in using digital tech to communicate? can you act now and ask forgiveness later? 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet
spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: trad media still important. so our jobs now that much harder: SM added on top of all this 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet

Online communications and social media does not yet get enough attention from the federal government (are you surprised?) — public service communicators are still very much focused on traditional media relations. Scant attention being paid to online communications. What I mean is that while there may be lots of online publishing on government web sites, very little attention gets paid to what’s going on in the wider web. This is changing though, as events like this one show.

At this point, the presentation moved into Qs and As. A few highlights:

spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: during heat of crisis – don’t allow commenting on your site. too much distraction 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet
spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: get out of the media mindset! anyone can be a broadcaster in their own right now. no need to wait for the media 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet

Back to the disintermediation theme again… looks like it’s one of Brendan’s favourites :+)

It’s true that web 2.0 has made it possible for government communicators to connect directly with our audiences and stakeholders. Collectively, we are only just beginning to see that online communications means more than the corporate website. But implementation will be a challenge, since disintermediation also has brought fragmentation. So we need to do our homework, so we don’t goof up as we approach “being our own broadcaster.” Can’t just slap an RSS feed on our sites and hope for the best…

And here’s a few last tweets from the Q and A session:

spaghetti_p: #w2cc from audience: need to go back to standing crisis comms plans and see how can add the social media layer to that (big challenge IMO) 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet
spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: sr mgrs need to understand why soc med is important 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet
spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: monitoring first, then weigh decision to engage (credibility, authority of poster or commenter) 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet
spaghetti_p: #w2cc Brendan: sustainability of social media – think like a managing editor or a publisher – dedicate resources to it 1 day ago from twhirl · Reply · View Tweet

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Infographic by the ever-reliable Jeremiah Owyang. Boils down one of the key points of Cluetrain very nicely.

Govt types could easily replace the word “corporate” with “government” and “prospect” with “citizen” in this infographic.

It was created by the ever-reliable Jeremiah Owyang (the web strategist) quite some time ago, but I only just learned of it via his retweeting of the original post in which it appeared.

Boils down one of the key points of Cluetrain very nicely:  traditional marketing approaches do not work online. (Did they ever work in any medium?)

12. There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.


15. In just a few more years, the current homogenized “voice” of business—the sound of mission statements and brochures—will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th century French court.

16. Already, companies that speak in the language of the pitch, the dog-and-pony show, are no longer speaking to anyone.

These points were drafted ten years ago — in 1999. When the web was in it’s infancy and buzzwords like “web 2.0” were but a twinkle in O’Reilly’s eye. Many in the private sector have adapted to the conventions of the participatory environment, but governments are only just starting to. We’ve got a long way to go to catch up.

Also like how this points to the importance of — at a minimum — monitoring the myriad of platforms hovering in the background  (blogs, podcasts, rating sites, IM, etc.) — something that us government folks are not doing nearly enough.

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Been meaning to post this. This looks to me like a solid (and highly visual) procedure for engaging bloggy types that the US Air Force released recently.

(Originally found via this blog post from Wired) In terms of process, this is not unlike that SWARM methodology developed by Tod Maffin that I mentioned a while back. Being an infographic, it’s a lot easier to quickly digest than an overly wordy policy or vague guidelines. I could see a version of this being developed in many government workplaces (assuming employees are empowered to participate online in the first place). Very handy tool that you could post up on the wall of your cubicle. Here’s some context – from an insightful post from @dmscott at Web Ink Now on the Air Force’s recent social media efforts:

In an environment where many corporations are scared witless about social media, here a huge global organization firmly committed to social media communications to spread messages, stories, knowledge and ideals. [Capt. David Faggard, Chief of Emerging Technology at the Air Force Public Affairs Agency in the Pentagon – the man behind the chart] says that the focus is on: “Direct Action within Social Media (blogging, counter-blogging, posting products to YouTube, etc.); Monitoring and Analysis of the Social Media landscape (relating to Air Force and Airmen); and policy and education (educating all Public Affairs practitioners and the bigger Air Force on Social Media).”

I especially liked this bit:

If you’re nineteen years old and based in Afghanistan, you don’t just go and update your Facebook status with your exact location and duties. “We educate people in the Air Force about security of social media to make sure that people don’t expose secrets via Twitter or Facebook some other media,” Capt. Faggard says. “However, many airmen are really smart and communications can be very valuable to families and friends back home so we don’t want to close it down completely.”

i.e. the attitude is rather than block social sites willy nilly, educate, empower and trust your employees to use social software responsibly. Done right, this results in a better online reputation for the org, and a stronger engagement with your stakeholders and audiences too. Nice!

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I had the pleasure of listening in on today’s federal government Web 2.0 Communications Community (GCpedia link, sorry to those outside the GoC firewall) presentation “Adventures in Government Blogging.” Featured speakers were Colin McKay from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, talking about his experiences in starting and maintaining the Office’s official blog, and Christian Sauvé, speaking about recent internal blogging experiments at the Public Service Commission.

It was an excellent session; very informative. Instead of scribbling notes, I tweeted the session — what follows is a rough transcript — I’ll post a more analytical response in upcoming days.

First Speaker — Christian Sauvé

My notes mostly focused on how he explained the tools that were used to support the blogging exercise…

listening in on GoC W2CC meeting “adventures in government blogging about 9 hours ago from web
fella from PSC talking about internal blogging initiative about 8 hours ago from web
GoC W2CC is here: http://tinyurl.com/9dkjsv about 8 hours ago from web
Govt adoption of Web2.0 tools. participation + accountability = twin issues about 8 hours ago from web
PSC used WordPress as internal blogging platform… tons of resources, plugins, community support about 8 hours ago from web
making it fit with CLF 2.0: the “look”, accessibility, bilingual.. templating system in WordPress = solution for this about 8 hours ago from web
made a few tweaks for accessibility, used screenreaders (JAWS) etc to test about 8 hours ago from web
bilingual blog: WordPress templates allowed for this about 8 hours ago from web

Next Up — Colin McKay

Colin touched on a number of topics: getting approval, the blogging experience…

now @canuckflack speaking about 8 hours ago from web
talking about PrivCom adventures in blogging: used out of box solution about 8 hours ago from web
hired consultant to develop CLF skin for the PrivCom blog about 8 hours ago from web
approvals for the PrivCom blog: business plan provided options to kill project, to reassure management about 8 hours ago from web
tried to sell concept of engaging Canadians online rather than focus on tool about 8 hours ago from web
privacy advocates tend to glom onto collab comms tools – blogs good medium for this about 8 hours ago from web
what is a blog post meant to do? allows PrivCom to send signals about issues that they’re interested in about 8 hours ago from web
blog posts point to issues elsewhere online… send subtle signals about 8 hours ago from web
human voice – opportunity to show human side of the org about 8 hours ago from web
privcom blog not deluged with comments, no debates have developed in blog comments about 8 hours ago from web
Privcom also using WordPress. about 8 hours ago from web
blog was initial tool. led to use of other web2.0 tools.. video (YouTube) and photos (flickr) also about 8 hours ago from web
tip: restrain your enthusiasm… stick to business needs and org priorities rather than obsessions as a communicator about 8 hours ago from web
Q from audience: content creation? about 8 hours ago from web
A: process=author creates content for post, then reviewed by @canuckflack, then to legal or policy if needed, then translated and posted about 8 hours ago from web
no senior approval needed, b/c trust has been built up w/ management about 8 hours ago from web

Back to Christian Sauvé

In which he also covered the issue of approvals…

back to Christian Sauve from PSC about 8 hours ago from web
feels lucky so far: PSC senior management ready to try new things online, encouraged experimentation about 8 hours ago from web
looked at PRivCom blog as model about 8 hours ago from web
use precendents to help with approvals (e.g. GCpedia, privcom blog, etc) about 8 hours ago from web
“IT dislikes surprises” about 8 hours ago from web
cannot convince obstructionists, rather exploit fault lines about 8 hours ago from web
ie job is to convince those who are vacilating, on the fence – they can help to isolate obstructionists about 8 hours ago from web
minimize personal risks to senior managers careers – show how their jobs will not be as risk because of change about 8 hours ago from web
do not attempt a “big bang” (despite NRCan wiki initiative)… try something focussed and small about 8 hours ago from web
& w easy metics for success (“pilot projects”) about 8 hours ago from web
find businss allies, beyond comms or IT folks about 8 hours ago from web
involve IT security, legal and ATIP folks early on. the sooner they get over their initial fear & loathing, the better about 8 hours ago from web
made mistake of not involving legal early on, now wrangling about 8 hours ago from web
ATIP officer for NRCan assisted PSC with their web 2.0 project, now PSC’s ATIP folks onside too about 8 hours ago from web

… before moving on to some lessons learned:

there will be delays, plan ahead. lots of solutions have been blogged or otherwise posted online (esp w/ open software) about 8 hours ago from web
CLF 2.0 not a straitjacket, but a very useful guide. developers have come around about 8 hours ago from web
but nothing (e.g. WordPress or whatever) has a CLF skin – you will have to beg, borrow or build your own about 8 hours ago from web
PSC working on user guidelines for participation w web 2.0 tools about 8 hours ago from web
“technology is legistation” = the tools at your disposal are more effective than regulation (e.g. mp3s vs the music industry) about 8 hours ago from web
implication: web 2.0 in govt = sedition. openness has potential to really disrupt the org about 8 hours ago from web
so, manage your sedition – imagine worst case scenarios. how are you going to deal? about 8 hours ago from web
criteria for success: luck, skill, good managers, and luck about 8 hours ago from web

A note about that “technology is legislation” quote. He was referring to something that Karl Schroeder wrote.

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I should really pay more attention to Louis Gray. He writes some great stuff, and I really like his approach (minimal snark from a well-known tech blogger is very refreshing!)

Anyhow, last week he was talking about the life cycle of his blog content – but it could be about any form of web content. Including government web presences (or at least the ones with RSS feeds).

While it’s still important to be sure the blog itself loads quickly, for those who view it for the first time, or for those who do click through RSS and choose to leave a comment, the look and feel of the blog is less important over time. I expect fewer people are typing in the louisgray.com URL and viewing pages directly, as they accumulate feeds and read more, and see the blog’s UI more as a shell for content than a destination where a reader would spend a good amount of time. At this stage, the blog is simply a point in time for the content to begin its journey.

This feels absolutely right — the website should be a launch pad not a destination point. Meanwhile here in the GoC we’re for the most part treating our sites as destinations — so lots of time gets spent on site redesigns and recoding old pages to match the latest government standard. (Which despite claiming to take into account “modern practices on the Web,” actually says nothing about RSS feeds or dropping content on outposts like a YouTube channel or a Facebook page.)

And where does Louis Gray’s content journey to? (Besides this blog of course …)

I’m using my blog as a way to project content outward – to RSS readers, to aggregators, like FriendFeed, Strands and Social Median, and to connect with readers via e-mail, using Disqus. It also, via RSS, powers popular sharing sites, like ReadBurner and RSSmeme. But none of those activities, with the exception of comments, require actual visits.


The bulk of the activity around the blog is pretty much happening someplace else – making the number one purpose for the blog site itself to convert new visitors into signing up for the RSS feed. So if they bump into the content, via Techmeme, Digg, StumbleUpon, ReadBurner, FriendFeed, or anywhere else, they’ll sign up and take in my content in the way they choose.

So if I were to translate this into my environment as a government communicator: it’s not about my Department’s website. It’s about freeing the site’s content to travel across the Web, and people will consume that content the way they want. The very least I can do to is to create a feed that sets the content free.

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Was in a meeting the other day about an email newsletter. Some of the more technologically savvy folks geeks in the room attempted to steer the discussion towards RSS feeds. As in, “why not deliver this thing by RSS rather than email? And you can do all this fancy stuff with RSS, like include images or media… and anyways we hate email….” I’m paraphrasing of course, but you know how this line of thinking goes ;+)

& yes RSS is wonderful – I’m as oversubscribed as the next nerd. But us govt types can’t forget that most people don’t know what RSS feeds are or how to use a feed reader. And they could care less.

Check this research on awareness of web 2.0 applications and technologies:

bar graph showing awareness levels of message boards, YouTube, RSS, etc,.

(Source: Research for the Government of Canada, 2007. Click graphic for full size.)

I find it pretty striking how the RSS bars in this chart are so much shorter than all the others — RSS is the only technology on that list that the majority of people surveyed weren’t familiar with.

Makes sense that a more or less representative sample of typical Canucks would be less familiar with RSS than with blogs, social networking, etc. After all, RSS is underlying infrastructure that ties all the other stuff together. Folks using 2.0 technologies are using RSS but they’re not necessarily aware of it.

I also like this tidbit, from the qualitative part of this study – focus groups in several locations across Canada – which really brings home the value of email updates over RSS:

… many Internet users (mainly Web 2.0 users) were familiar with the concept [of RSS feeds] in general, even though they had no specific awareness of RSS feeds. Many, for example, were familiar with the idea of receiving updates from various websites through emails containing links. This included updates from websites of various stores (e.g. Rona), from websites of entertainment-related companies (e.g. Cineplex Odeon), from entertainment-related websites (e.g. Têtes à claques TV), from news sites, and from blogs.
(My emphasis. Source: Research for the Government of Canada, 2007)

(Aside: wow a Têtes à claques reference! Whoopee! It’s actually been blocked by the IT gang at my workplace, I guess cuz us bureaucrats shouldn’t be exposed to jokes about farts and boobies…)

Ahem… anyhow, the lesson for me here? If you’re a government site and you want people to subscribe to your updates, it’s great to have RSS feeds. But absolutely make sure you’ve got an email subscription vehicle too – in fact, probably makes sense to put more energy into the email channel than the RSS one.

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Swarm of starlings in evening sky

Swarm of starlings in evening sky -- loud and skittish

(Source: vapour trail on Flickr)

Attended Tod Maffin’s talk on the “web swarm” via IABC webinar today. Basically he was looking at doing crisis communications in today’s online environment.

What is a web swarm? As I understood it, it’s basically when a bunch of people congregate in one spot on the web to basically trash a given target, be it a politician, a company, a brand, an individual or whatever. (Here’s some examples.) Common swarm spots include social news sites like Digg or Reddit, social networks like Facebook, YouTube, and in the blogosphere or on forums – anywhere that people can contribute comments, links or other content.

(It’s basically similar to the concept of the “blog storm,” but expanded to include all the other places on the participatory web that are not commonly understood as being part of the blogosphere.)

Tod provided a handy methodology for crafting response posts when dealing with a web swarm.

S- Sweeten the Honey Pot.
Use a friendly tone with no jargon. “Thanks for pointing out our goof—we’re not perfect, but we’re trying.”

W- Win-Win.
Make them feel like they have the upper hand. “You were right to feel irritated.”

A- Advise Them What You’ve Changed.
Do this within the first few sentences. “Thanks to your posting, we’re changing our policy.”

R-Right Wrongs
Correct online inaccuracies. Don’t let errors stand on the internet forever. Several popular web sites (including one run by Google) take snapshots of online content and store them in a searchable cache—forever.

M-Make Friends
E-mail some of the individual contributors and invite them to keep in contact. “I hope you’ll continue to share your insights with me.”

This is a convenient checklist for how to actually go into the swarm and hopefully calm the waters.

But he said something else that I found interesting about operating in this environment. Basically that most of the time you should comment only once. So if for instance, there’s a swarm happening on Digg, you should only drop a single comment in the thread. And then you are out.

Not sure I completely agree here. I do understand that there’s a need to avoid being drawn into a tit-for-tat debate on details. And that a decent, timely response will get amplified as some posters in the swarm start to take your part. But I don’t think that a single comment dropped in a lively thread will satisfy the more aggressive participants – it could even give them more ammunition to keep up the pressure.

Maybe it’s because I work for The Man, a very large and very easy target that basically doesn’t “get it.” But I could imagine that continued silence after the initial comment may also do more harm then good. It’ll make that human, conciliatory post you made look insincere, incomplete. Again government not listening.

I guess I’m wondering that to be really successful in dealing with the swarm, a bit more of a sustained presence will be necessary?

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Fascinating discussions around the office last week about incorporating social media in communications strategies.

Got me thinking about different tactics that government could adopt in terms of layers of engagement with the participatory web.

Each layer builds on the previous, or to put it another way, governments can’t engage at deeper layers without doing preceding ones also. Risk – and reward – is magnified as you pass from one layer to the next.

Here’s a quick, high-level sketch of how I’m starting to think of this:

1. Passive monitoring. Activities like following RSS feeds and using alerts to see what the world is saying about you online, to find out where (or if) the conversations about you are taking place. Passive because you are not participating in the online conversation about you, but merely watching as it unfolds. This layer of engagement is the lowest risk and requires the lightest workload, but is the base for all that follows. ROI: it’s market research, which is pretty valuable in its own right.

2. Reactive engagement. At this layer, you are commenting around the web – on others’ blog posts, news items, in forums. You are going to where the conversations are and engaging people there (thinking here of examples like Dell and how they used this approach to get past the Dell Hell thing). Big jump in workload here, requires sustained efforts. Needs agility to respond quickly, good judgement about what’s worth responding to and how to respond appropriately. ROI: helps build credibility and reputation over time. Shows that you are listening. Shows a government that is working at staying relevant to its citizenry. Risks: if done wrong or abandoned, will actually further weaken credibility.

3. Proactive community leadership: This layer entails hosting some form of community site, whether a blog or forum or (gasp!) social network. This entails bringing the conversation to you, allowing your critics onto your turf so to speak (thinking here of the US Transportation Security Administration blog as an example, and Dell is doing this also with it’s blogging efforts and its IdeaStorm community site). More importantly, the idea here is that you are beginning to lead in the creation of a community around your program or initiative. Highest workload at this point, as you need consistently good stream of fresh content on top of all the monitoring and reactive commenting that you are already doing. (And it all has to be translated if you are in the GoC. ) Not to mention time for moderating comments. ROI: allows you to be proactive in telling your story, can lead to enhanced reputation online (building as opposed to just protecting brand). & if you are successful in doing this, everybody will be in awe, since you are govt. :+) Risks: same as #2 but an order of magnitude higher due to increased visibility.

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