Stop the Posturing About Government 2.0 and Do It Already

Stand Out and Do Something!

Stand Out and Do Something!

It’s about time.  It’s time to stop talking about theories of Government 2.0.  Time to stop predicting how the Obama administration is going to use social media.  Time to stop whining about all of the challenges involved with bringing social media to the government.  Time to stop the boundless optimism about the potential that you’re seeing.   Time to stop patting ourselves on the back.  Time to step out of the echo chamber of the social media blogosphere.   It’s time to start doing.

I think most of my readers would agree with me that social media is here to stay.  The technology can and will change, but the authenticity and relationships that the technology enables isn’t going anywhere.  Our government has no choice but to start moving more and more toward social media.  We’re already seeing it with Intellipedia, with change.gov, with the TSA’s blog – within virtually every government organization, social media is at least being discussed.  My company has clients across the federal government, and I could get a meeting with pretty much any of them just by saying that I lead our social media practice and I’d like to discuss how their organization could take advantage of social media.  The point is that there’s demand for social media expertise in the public sector.  Everyone is curious, everyone wants to know what all the buzz is about, and everyone is looking for the right answers.

Our time is now.  It’s time to start doing.  If you work for the federal government or for a government contractor, there are opportunities galore for you.  If you’re sitting in your cubicle reading this, just counting the minutes till you can leave for the day, this is your chance.  Social media and the government is your opportunity to stand out and do something to effect real change in our government.

Don’t tell me it’s too hard or that your boss doesn’t know YouTube from an iPod.  Those are excuses, not reasons.  If YouTube is blocked where you work, get it unblocked.  Write a white paper justifying why it shouldn’t be blocked.  Meet with your boss about it.  Meet with your boss’s boss about it.  Start a blog where you talk about it.  Volunteer to give a brown bag presentation to your office.  Just DO something!  Take the initiative and work on changing how your organization works – don’t just sit there sulking, saying, “I wish we could do social media here, but we can’t even get on Facebook so there’s no use.”  Bringing social media to your organization isn’t something that happens from 9-5.  It happens from 5-9, after everyone else has gone home.

I know it’s not easy.  In fact, it’s going to be REALLY hard.  Hard, but definitely not impossible.  You’re going to face a lot of opposition.  You’re going to encounter a lot of nay-sayers.  You’re going to have to work a lot of hours.  You’re going to have to endure a lot of rejection.  Hell, you’ll probably get reprimanded or even fired.

More than likely though, you’ll become recognized.  You’ll be noticeable.  You’ll be in demand.  Most importantly, you’ll make a difference.

Social media and government started not with some policy or memo from the senior leadership, but from regular people sitting in a cubicle who saw an opportunity and decided to do something about it.  They didn’t see a policy prohibiting blogging and say, “oh well, I guess that ends that.”  No, they pulled together briefings on why blogging was needed.  They found examples of others who were doing it.  They told anyone who would listen about the power of blogging.  They got meetings with his bosses.  They eventually changed the policy.

It’s time for you to be that guy and to step up, take the initiative and not let red tape and bureaucracy stop you.   Don’t accept no as an answer and don’t let a couple unenlightened colleagues stop your drive to effect change.   Stand out from the crowd and actually do something about it.

*Image courtesy of Flickr user Paul Likes Pics

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About sradick

I'm Vice President, Director of Public Relations at Brunner in Pittsburgh. Find out more about me here (https://steveradick.wpengine.com/about/).

View all posts by sradick

40 Responses to “Stop the Posturing About Government 2.0 and Do It Already”

  1. Mecredy Says:

    Steve…really like the opening paragraph. I too am tired of doing the cheerleader thing – switching to taking the boss’s hand and leading them through a no kidding issue and solving a problem…connecting with their workforce at the same time. Practical application of getting the business message out there.

  2. Mecredy Says:

    Steve…really like the opening paragraph. I too am tired of doing the cheerleader thing – switching to taking the boss’s hand and leading them through a no kidding issue and solving a problem…connecting with their workforce at the same time. Practical application of getting the business message out there.

  3. sradick Says:

    @mixtmedia definitely – you have to start somewhere, and as I mentioned in one of my previous posts (https://steveradick.wpengine.com/2008/10/20/so-you-want-to-bring-social-media-to-your-organization/), reading is the first step. What I’m tired of is people who have the defeatist attitude that never get past that first step. Of course the policies aren’t going to be social media-friendly, they were probably developed by people who don’t understand social media. But you can’t let that stop you. The best policies are the ones that change and adapt – there has to be someone pushing for that change though.

  4. sradick Says:

    @mixtmedia definitely – you have to start somewhere, and as I mentioned in one of my previous posts (https://steveradick.wpengine.com/2008/10/20/so-you-want-to-bring-social-media-to-your-organization/), reading is the first step. What I’m tired of is people who have the defeatist attitude that never get past that first step. Of course the policies aren’t going to be social media-friendly, they were probably developed by people who don’t understand social media. But you can’t let that stop you. The best policies are the ones that change and adapt – there has to be someone pushing for that change though.

  5. sradick Says:

    @mecredy Take a look at this post and the one by Jason Falls that I link to in there – right in line with what you’re saying.

  6. sradick Says:

    @mecredy Take a look at this post and the one by Jason Falls that I link to in there – right in line with what you’re saying.

  7. Mark Danielson Says:

    Go Steve go! After planning for, and worrying about all the catastrophes and horrors that may be imagined, you have to do it at some point. So let’s do it! Very nice.

  8. Mark Danielson Says:

    Go Steve go! After planning for, and worrying about all the catastrophes and horrors that may be imagined, you have to do it at some point. So let’s do it! Very nice.

  9. Jane Bozarth Says:

    A-men!

  10. Jane Bozarth Says:

    A-men!

  11. Chary Izquierdo Says:

    AMEN!

    Just do it and face the push back squarely. One technique that worked for me in my agency was publicly questioning at all levels (and in a nice way) the validity of any and every rationale for blocking any social media site. Most are based out of ignorance and fear of the unknown. Once challenged to defend their rationale most people responsible for the blocking admit their ignorance giving you get a teachable moment

  12. Chary Izquierdo Says:

    AMEN!

    Just do it and face the push back squarely. One technique that worked for me in my agency was publicly questioning at all levels (and in a nice way) the validity of any and every rationale for blocking any social media site. Most are based out of ignorance and fear of the unknown. Once challenged to defend their rationale most people responsible for the blocking admit their ignorance giving you get a teachable moment

  13. sradick Says:

    @Andrew I wasn’t implying that there are plenty of great examples where the government is “getting” it and doing it. This post was simply meant to spur on to action those people who “get it” but aren’t doing anything about it. I’m tired of talking to people who want to do social media but let an ignorant boss or an archaic policy get in their way. I realize that’s difficult sometime, but if you truly believe in social media making a difference, then it’s worth the extra work to write a white paper after hours or pull together a briefing at midnight. It’s precisely the examples you mention (among many others) why people need to step up and do something about it – that’s how we make progress in this. not by having memos sent down from leadership about using social media, but one guy sticking his neck out to push the envelope.

  14. sradick Says:

    @Andrew I wasn’t implying that there are plenty of great examples where the government is “getting” it and doing it. This post was simply meant to spur on to action those people who “get it” but aren’t doing anything about it. I’m tired of talking to people who want to do social media but let an ignorant boss or an archaic policy get in their way. I realize that’s difficult sometime, but if you truly believe in social media making a difference, then it’s worth the extra work to write a white paper after hours or pull together a briefing at midnight. It’s precisely the examples you mention (among many others) why people need to step up and do something about it – that’s how we make progress in this. not by having memos sent down from leadership about using social media, but one guy sticking his neck out to push the envelope.

  15. sradick Says:

    @archie – don’t let that stop you! That’s the whole point of this post. Don’t let one ignorant manager squash the social media effort. Trot out reports of all the good things that Twitter is doing. Pull together a presentation that shows the risks to your organization NOT using social media. Just keep pushing…they’ve eventually have to come around, or they’ll cease to be relevant.

  16. sradick Says:

    @chary – Great tactic, and one that I’ve used often as well!

  17. sradick Says:

    @archie – don’t let that stop you! That’s the whole point of this post. Don’t let one ignorant manager squash the social media effort. Trot out reports of all the good things that Twitter is doing. Pull together a presentation that shows the risks to your organization NOT using social media. Just keep pushing…they’ve eventually have to come around, or they’ll cease to be relevant.

  18. sradick Says:

    @chary – Great tactic, and one that I’ve used often as well!

  19. Mark Drapeau Says:

    October 1, 2008 – Government 2.0: Where is the Urgency?
    http://mashable.com/2008/10/01/government-where-is-the-urgency/

  20. Mark Drapeau Says:

    October 1, 2008 – Government 2.0: Where is the Urgency?
    http://mashable.com/2008/10/01/government-where-is-the-urgency/

  21. Sreya Dutta Says:

    Steve, this is a very motivating and practical post. I went through all the things you’ve described here. Just that this is possibly the problem with any new idea that is going to change the way people work. There will be resistance; the person speaking about it would be under scrutiny to know why they have nothing better to do. One thing with social learning is that it is hard to prove its value at a stage when the implementation isn’t done. Like I can do a prototype and show it brought value to the company, as it takes time.

    I’ve recently posted this idea in our internal ideas and networking portal. I have a 14 people who voted for the idea in about 5 days. I don’t know how far this will go to conscious implementation but posting the idea is a start. In my org, we seem to have the tools in place just that we’re not using them for learning as part of our jobs.

    I really like and agree with your point about being the change in your organization.

    Thanks for sharing your views!

    Sreya

    • sradick Says:

      Thanks Sreya – keep me posted on your progress! I’d love to hear how you and your organization are using social media. I’d also be interested in hearing how you’ve overcome any challenges that you’re facing.

  22. Sreya Dutta Says:

    Steve, this is a very motivating and practical post. I went through all the things you’ve described here. Just that this is possibly the problem with any new idea that is going to change the way people work. There will be resistance; the person speaking about it would be under scrutiny to know why they have nothing better to do. One thing with social learning is that it is hard to prove its value at a stage when the implementation isn’t done. Like I can do a prototype and show it brought value to the company, as it takes time.

    I’ve recently posted this idea in our internal ideas and networking portal. I have a 14 people who voted for the idea in about 5 days. I don’t know how far this will go to conscious implementation but posting the idea is a start. In my org, we seem to have the tools in place just that we’re not using them for learning as part of our jobs.

    I really like and agree with your point about being the change in your organization.

    Thanks for sharing your views!

    Sreya

    • sradick Says:

      Thanks Sreya – keep me posted on your progress! I’d love to hear how you and your organization are using social media. I’d also be interested in hearing how you’ve overcome any challenges that you’re facing.

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