Digital communications in the public sector is in a crazy place. While people running in social media circles accept the general truth that building trust and interest from customers rests heavily on people (customers or staff) telling their stories, this flies in the face of centrally controlled communications styles. Allowing people to tell their own stories is powerful as it brings to life the inside of a public service and helps to give a true picture of what goes on day to day, unblemished by PR spin or overproduced news pieces.
So what would happen if staff were let loose on Twitter to tell their stories? What happens when staff are trusted to speak publicly about their work and their organisation on behalf of the organisation? I can hear a collective gasp from communications officers and senior and middle management the land over, the same people who often quip that frontline staff can’t be/shouldn’t be trusted to live tweet or blog about their experiences. They’ll probably say something stupid.
Behold the truth: current work going on in the South West neighbourhood of Edinburgh Council demonstrates the consideration with which frontline staff treat the opportunity to communicate directly to citizens about their work. Check out Graham Budd’s latest blog post Vexing myself into redundancy to get the real deal about how things are approached and organised when bringing staff online.
What do you think about this approach? Do you allow your staff to blog, publish to your website or Tweet on behalf of the organisation? If not, why not?