Wow man, that is really clever

All sectors are doing really clever and exciting things using social media tools at the moment. I wonder if we should re-name these tools? If they are purely for social communication purposes, then why are businesses and the public sector getting involved.

It seems rather like being in the pub with your mates having a chat, and perhaps even including people around the pub whom you don’t know – when suddenly a disjointed voice joins in the discussion, with well-crafted verse – clearly delivering ‘a message’.

Ed aside: a message is how a person asks for a bribe in Kenya btw 🙂

Or my old bug-bear, having an email discussion with someone and suddenly an extended copy list has been added to the conversation, and you end up having – what is more often than not a disagreement – in front of a sea of faceless people. Weird.

So… my point is that these social media tools are supremely brilliant and simple at enabling conversation and connections in the SOCIAL world. However, they are, or could be, an expensive distraction from problems that are less simple to solve. I hear you cry at the word expensive, these tools are dirt cheap/free (I know) but what I mean is that if organisations start spending time, money and attention on developing clever ways to interact with their customers using Twitter – there is a risk that the knotty, difficult problems will continue to go into the too-hard box. All in the name of quick-wins and fanfare.

For example, I would love to be able to register a change of address or circumstance in one place online, and have all government departments notified.

Wouldn’t it be fabulous if we could do this?

7 responses

  1. And said so much better than me 🙂 Thanks Lloyd, this is really useful – I have heard little about this in the public sector apart from a brief shudder about 6 years ago that was completely impossible to deliver because departments do not collaborate enough. Data is knowledge, knowledge is power. Yet I hear a LOT about how clever departments are being at keeping up with the game… basics, love, basics (again).

  2. My slide into use of Twitter scares me!

    I am a social person. I interact, I network.

    I go to parties (out of work) and attend lots of conferences and meetings (in work). I always always try to speak to everyone I know and respect either socially or work related at once at each event. These may be brief encounters but my frontal lobe has made the connection, we’ve exchanged the “warm fuzzies” and swapped juciy gossip / vital work issues (delete as appropriate!)

    I am beginning to see this is not possible as my Twitter group grows – and I don’t like !!

    My Twitter client highlights Direct Messages and @ messages in different colours and I feel so guilty to say if you aren’t one of those your Tweet ofen passes by in the “other grey messages list”. I feel bad.

    F2F communition wins over Twitter as does sitting down drinking a cup of tea with a group to discuss their “ICT issues” over a remote quick (and cheap) fix on the phone.

    People are what make the world go round and although their problems can be too-hard they are a supreme joy when they are fixed!

  3. Thank you Paul, I like what you have said here – and again I am seeing a running thread of freedom from information. Ben’s ‘frontal lobe’ comment seems to have affected everyone too… must chat to him about that and write down what he says properly 🙂 or do my own work – pah

  4. The ODPM’s Innovations Fund gave £600k. to a group led by Tamworth Borough Council to develop tools and guidelines to tackle the change of address issue at the local level.

    IIRC they launched the service, but I certainly can’t find it!

  5. Mmmhm 🙂 @ Shane

    What I really mean is for central depts, DWP and HMRC in particular. The ones that sue you or punish you if they lose you. Or that would be really useful if you suddenly lost the use of your limbs and needed to notify ONE person in government to see how you might be supported.

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