Communication in the Future

Communication in the Future

Right Now with Nick Smith

What I’m listening to: I had a lot of work to do yesterday, so I broke out the reliable instrumental rock of El Ten Eleven.

What I’m reading: Government Technology Magazine’s new Jan/Feb issue!

Ever since my childhood reading Life of Reilly in Sports Illustrated and the charts in Rolling Stone, it’s always seemed like the thing I wanted most has been on the back page. Government Technology Magazine is no different, with a very reliable, readable back page column by Kristy Dalton, also known as GovGirl, and the founder of Government Social Media Organization. So, I was at the office recently, and my new issue of GovTech came across my desk, as it seems to every so often, and so I did what I always do — I flipped to the back page.

This issue’s GovGirl column is super straightforward, with a title of “The Case for the Social Media Coordinator” and an equally direct byline reading “It’s 2018. When are you finally going to create that full-time social media position?” Now, granted, she’s got a financial interest in saying this, but that does not take away from the fact that she’s right!

In fact, today, my Public Information team and I will be presenting a “Social Media How-To” to our region of the IIMC, and I worry about it, because I think that we’re going to give about a hundred municipal clerks about a thousand distractions from their own very important jobs. What I hope happens is that they take what we present back to their jurisdictions and tell their brass that they need a social media person, because it’s true.

Sure, of the people in a proverbial City Hall, you could do way worse than a clerk for social media. Keepers of historical records, knowledgeable about day-to-day operations, liaisons to the governing body … what’s not to like? Well, for starters, the fact that they already have a job, and it really shouldn’t expand to entail creating compelling content, monitoring platforms, learning their nuances with regard to posting frequency, et cetera, et cetera.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have a particularly hard job. I don’t think anyone reading this post probably has a hard job. What each of us does have, though, is enough job.

Whether you live in a city of 1,000,000+, or some incredibly diverse and beautiful suburb of Washington DC with 70,000 residents, or a even village of 1,500, social media alone is more than enough to fill a 40 hour work week. It’s not just someone who comes in and plays on Twitter (even though I tell people that’s what I do because generates fewer followup questions than “I stare into the black void of the anonymous internet all day and try to come home happy”).

It’s marketing.
It’s public information
It’s crisis communications.
It’s in the office.
It’s out of the office.
It’s non-stop.

It touches every single department and elected official in your jurisdiction, and it interfaces publicly and officially with the people, businesses, and other governments around the world in a humanizing and relevant way.

To sum it up, if you don’t have a dedicated Social Media Coordinator, tell anyone who will listen that you need one.

Because you do.

(Full disclosure: I’ll be speaking at the Government Social Media Conference in Denver this year, and I am not receiving any compensation for this or that.)