Tag Archives: getting started

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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Why Start Another Social Media Blog???

Photo courtesy of Le Syndicaliste under Creative Commons license

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Le Syndicaliste under Creative Commons license

That’s actually a great question, and one that I struggled with for a long time before I actually bit the bullet and created this site. You see, the current state of the social media blogosphere is very much like an echo chamber, in that a bunch of social media evangelists, strategists, gurus, and other experts are talking to and amongst one another. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but as Jonathan Trenn states in this post, that’s no longer enough. It’s great that there’s a vibrant community of these experts (check my blogroll on the right for a list of these experts, all much more established than I) actively sharing ideas and experiences. However, this has led to an almost stale conversation in the social media blogosphere where we’re preaching to the choir. So, of course, I’m starting…a social media blog!!!

Seem a little counter-intuitive? On its face, I’ll admit that it is – what could I possibly offer you, my blog reader, that is unique? What content will this blog have that you won’t be find anywhere else? That’s a tough question and one in which I hope that you will call me on if I start getting stale. For now though, here’s a list of reasons of why I hope this blog will prove valuable to you.

1. A majority of my posts will focus on Enterprise 2.0 – exploring the use of social media behind the corporate/organizational firewall. I’ve found that there are a ton of resources about the principles of social media and how those principles can be applied externally. I’ll write a little about that stuff as well, but I will try to stay focused on how social media can improve internal collaboration, communication, and information sharing behind the firewall.

2. I work for a large Government contractor and all of my clients are in the public sector (read my Legal-ese page for the obligatory disclaimers regarding content you find here). I think I bring a unique perspective on the challenges that government agencies face in bringing social media to their organization. Check out Mark Drapeau’s excellent series of Government 2.0 postings on Mashable for more information on this area of social media. As one of my firm’s Social Media leads, I’m responsible for working with our clients to figure out how they can use social media to benefit their organization. Much of my writing will dive deeper into this area – how and why is our government using social media internally?

3. Two months ago, my company officially deployed a platform of social media applications behind our firewall, including tools like blogs, forums, a wiki, social bookmarking, and social networking. In addition to serving as one of our social media leads, I’m also an advisor to the team responsible for developing, evangelizing, and teaching these tools to our internal staff. I’m able to write from first-hand experience about the benefits and obstacles of deploying social media to an organization with more than 15,000 employees located across the world. What’s worked? What hasn’t? Why?

There are many other reasons why you should read this blog, and hopefully those will become more apparent as I write more, but for now, I’ll stick to those three and hope you come back for more!

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