A few weeks back I posted about the Google localgov event. My thoughts on whether Councils would adopt cloud computing went something like this:
I have no doubt that the migration to the cloud won’t be driven so much by business strategy so much as by social needs and expectations. As time goes by our experiences of computing in our personal lives will be drastically mis-matched with our computing experiences at work.
Well that’s all very well if you have a degree of competency with IT. Anway, where’s this all heading? Following Portsmouth City Council’s move to block staff access to Facebook which has been in the news and causing a stir on Twitter (thanks to Sharon and Dave for excellent posts on the subject), I had an interesting chat with some colleagues on the subject of IT skills in the organisation.
I agree that unblocking access to social networking sites is a very sensible and positive first step to entrusting Council staff and exploring the potential for engaging citizens. This is the approach taken in the Council I work in and I am grateful not to be working in an organisation that takes more of a knee jerk response.
So assuming you have got over the first hurdle -unblocking access – one of the next big issues to solve (putting issues of brand and communications aside) is likely to be education. In organisations as diverse as Councils, staff IT skills vary widely. We need to be helping devise education programs for managers which provide them with the awareness, knowledge and skills to support their staff in using the internet to engage citizens. So whilst we are still on a learning curve ourselves as to when and why to use social media for engagement (and resources are tight) what can we do?
The potential of social media seems obvious when you know the ropes, but for someone who has just mastered email (or perhaps is still struggling) they will need a big helping hand to catch up.
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