A fellow blogger posted this today, which is well worth a read. I particularly like the use of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs here to show how and why different people have different attitudes to the use of social media.
The theme explored by Claire, looking at a clinical setting, applies slightly differently
to us as public sector employees; we want to connect, to express ourselves, create and share ideas through the many online platforms available. We want to take everyone with us, because we’re having so much fun and finding new ways to be effective. We’re sitting at the top of the pyramid, all self-actualised and stuff, scoffing at those below us because they “just don’t get it“. But other parts of the organisation are necessarily and quite rightly concerned with reputation and security, and we cannot force them to join us on our happy pink cloud of hive consciousness until we have addressed their needs.
How do we do this? Partly, I think, by not being stupid … we know what is or is not appropriate for certain audiences, and if we’re not sure our instincts should prompt us to play it safe or invite feedback so we can hit the right level. The less we mess up, the more comfortable they will be. This is not about pretending to be who we’re not, or reducing our output to bland nothings. It’s about being responsible adults and playing nicely, with half an eye on how we are communicating the things that matter to us.
We can also make sure we know what we are doing with our security options, accessibility settings and various widgets. If our blogs are secure, accessible and engaging then we reflect well on the organisations that employ us. If we are all seen to act this way, it creates the feeling that we embody the positive values of the council or whatever public sector body we work for. Done right, this is great PR.
As ever with a new technology or tool, it’s the early adopters who run ahead without bothering to read the instructions or wait for back up, and these are the people who make the mistakes so those who follow can avoid them.* We need to remember that not all of the scrutiny is disapproving – we are helping to write the guidelines, even if our contribution is mainly to trample them flat and keep accelerating. We will arrive, soon, at a place where everyone knows what the rules are and is comfortable with them. Of course by then we awkward types will be halfway up the next mountain wondering why nobody is keeping up, but that’s progress for you.