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Social Media and The Cone of Silence – Victoria Department of Justice


DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, VICTORIA: What does it mean when the people you elected to represent you, turn off comments in social channels? Go away, shut up, just do as I say, don’t ask, none of your business? But it is OUR business. If the person I am employing (through taxes) to do work for my community is on my communication channel, I expect to be able to speak to them. Not following me back on Twitter, turning off comments on YouTube, disabling discussion on Facebook is not the way to show me, the voter/your employer that you respect me. It’s saying that social spaces are broadcast spaces. Talk amongst yourselves while I transmit my ad. Let’s look at the back ground to the Department of Justice Victoria social media policy video, turning off discussion on YouTube and then explore the comments disabled thingie further.

In 2009, I wrote about Seth Godin evangelising “engagement” to companies in social media yet turning off comments on his blog because in his words, people might “change his mind”. Which is actually the point of engagement, not selling more traditional books/products. He is very clear in his post – talk about my stuff, distribute my content elsewhere for discussion, but I can’t listen to you.

In Australia, Gov 2.0 promulgates engagement, yet it’s a case of listen to me talk about social media rather than this is how you engage with us.

So onwards with the story: the Victorian Department of Justice put up a video on their social media policy. As usual, for this stage of development, it’s full of the warnings.

Imagine an video about emails. Would you seriously tell people that they don’t represent the company in emails?  Not to email to clients or stakeholders? Not to telephone people in the name of the Department of Justice?  So telephone and media can be used for business by anyone in the organisation, but social media? Hell no! Note: This will change, just not yet.

shallow to deep

Step 1 for engagement is: we don’t know what this is, we don’t know how to control it, we had better do something, oh I know, a social media policy that protects us while we figure it out. Mission accomplished, Department of Justice, Victoria! Step 3: let’s broadcast how fab we are, let’s use social channels to do it, but we won’t engage. Again, Mission Accomplished, Department of Justice, Victoria! (The other 7 steps to social media engagement).

  • There is no mention of positive use of social media, no encouraging of staff to disseminate information or be what they do best – the public face of an organisation. It’s the old antiquated view:  “media training” educates how to do media interviews vs “social media training” which is what not to do. In this case, use social media for personal stuff and try not to let it overlap into work. Some of you are nodding your head, saying “fair enough”.  So, telephone and email with clients is fine, but social media is not? What about a How to Be a Great Ambassador for The Organisation section? Still no? Aaaah. So social media is about authorised people doing broadcast and every other staff member better be careful? I don’t think so.
  • Which means the Policy is missing the bit “How to support your community online”. Which is the bit that tells us the voters, that we are being listened to, and engaged with, by a “whole of department” approach. The fact it’s missing means social media is not for a whole of department engagement with stakeholders tool. Shame.
  • No mention of what to do with staff who see negative comments. For example, this post. If you work for the Department of Justice, Victoria, how do you feel about me critiquing your social media policy? Do you agree, disagree, couldn’t care less? Will you tell me so? Better not, might get into trouble. Who should you escalate it to? Don’t know? Policies shouldn’t leave staff disempowered.
  • All in all it’s not a bad policy as policies go. Pretty common. The big issue I have with it is the next point – comments are turned off!

Our social media policy is: Shut Up and Listen

Always look at what organisations do, not say (works with potential boyfriends too!). We want to consult with the community does not stack up when comments are turned off. (Just like Darling I’m listening to you doesn’t ring true when the TV remote control is in hand.)

If you are staff, you know how to give feedback – after all, the Department of Justice, Victoria put the policy up on an internal blog or wiki, and asked for feedback. Didn’t they? They respect you, know they are treading on your Brand of One and have fully engaged with their internal community, you, their staff. Haven’t they? (Department of Justice, Victoria webpage on policies, no comments enabled). You can also look at my 40 Social Media Guidelines/Policies article for tips on how to introduce them into the organisation.

Comments off: Department of Justice Victoria

But as a voter, as a stakeholder, what’s your options? The Government that you have handed your voice to, the one you gave a vote to, and said represent me have just sent you back a clear and powerful message. You get the message because it’s on YOUR communiation channel, a social channel not a media channel. And social channels are for you to chat with other voters, stakeholders, influncers and generally be communicative. And what’s the Government’s message to you, the Voter? Why it’s… SHUT UP AND LISTEN.

Talk to the hand
Talk To The Hand

If you have a comment, observation, advice or question for the Department of Justice, Victoria, ask here. Cos you can’t on YouTube.

Or you can call

Further Information

Contact Jacqueline Page, Manager, Online Communication and New Media, Strategic Communication Branch for further information about the policy on 03 8684 0322

there is no email address…(from Information Page)

On a final note:  looking at that Information Page from the Department of Justice Victoria website, its about as far removed from a Social Media Press Release as you can possibly imagine. They haven’t even embedded their own YouTube video. It’s about the hardest webpage to distribute into communities as is feasible and still be on the web. If the video was for internal use, why is it tarted up by an agency and on YouTube and if it’s for pubic dissemination to protect the Department, why not do it properly?

Colour me confuzzled.

PS Dear Department of Justice, Victoria, if you had actually turned comments on, you’d have some control of the following conversation and the right of response. Now you have to rely on my good will…. muhahaha

 

EDIT:

FYI DoJ staff mentioned they do have a Twitter account @justice_vic. They have 1,500 followers but are only following 50 back and do not engage in conversations. Broadcast only e.g.:

Do your bit to #stopconmen. Call the hotline on 1300 133 408 to report a rip-off: http://bit.ly/pBf9Qp & follow @consumervic for more info

Final word: Governments that use “negative comments” or “lack of resources” (get better tools!) to abdicate their responsibility to voters in online community channels have become culturally irrelevant. #NoMoreExcuses

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

85 thoughts on “Social Media and The Cone of Silence – Victoria Department of Justice

  1. I think a more prudent approach is to look at the engagement required by communities and the resources available to government agencies and find a workable medium.

    I see YouTube as a fantastic video distribution platform, being the second largest search engine after Google, supporting closed captions and HTML5 video (avoiding any issues with Flash on certain devices or systems).

    However as a conversational tool, I prefer to direct people to a blog, forum or social network as YouTube offers limited capability to manage malignant spam (and as a result attracts a lot of it).

    Equally a lot of both commercial and government organisations are cautious about Facebook comments as it can also be difficult on many topics to ensure defamatory or offensive comments and personal attacks are managed appropriately on a 24-7 basis.

    I think it is far more valuable to provide advice and support to organisations on how to most effectively allocate their limited resources for social media engagement, rather than criticize organisations simply for trying to step into the water.

    Laurel, I hope those seminars you’re running in Canberra will help organisations maximize the effectiveness of their social media presence, given the resourcing that may be available.

    When organisations have limited resources they need to prioritize

    1. Craig I think you need to investigate YouTube more. You can actually turn off automatic comments and monitor them and of course remove spam if you wish. It’s very easy to moderate.

      And YouTube is a huge social network, far from just a way to distribute film. A lot of the engagement on YouTube is in the comments!

      Laurel has a job a paying job in this field and doesn’t have to go around giving away well meaning advice to a Govt organisation, who do not “get” social media. I’m sure if the Dept want to find Laurel and benefit from her advice, they should be able to find her easily, she’s in the “book” No1 on google for Social Media Consultant in Australia.

      Unfortunately the Debt of cruel Justice, is only one of many organisations that like to “use” social media to broadcast but don’t understand the true value is in listening and communication. It all seems very draconian, authoritarian, and frankly old fashioned..the music they chose for the video is hilarious they went for a cool funky tune whilst still acting like “The Man”

  2. This post irritated me just enough to respond.

    Craig above is spot on. Governments have limited resources. They can’t monitor every channel. If you want to get in touch with them, they have a very clear channel for that. If you’re happy to pay a great deal more in taxes, I’m sure they can do better. But in the meantime, they’re doing the best with what they have.

    Personally, even with more money, I’d recommend they have one single place to get feedback and interact with people. Can’t it easily become confusing? If they begin interacting on some platforms and not others? Why not this blog? Or that forum? Why this YouTube channel and not the blog?

    Second, your comments about Seth Godin are unfair. He doesn’t disable comments because they might ‘change his mind’ as you misquoted, but because he finds himself writing in anticipation of the comments.

    I worked alongside Seth in New York for 3 months. He spends hours, literally hours, every day responding to every single e-mail he gets. You can try it, e-mail him. He care deeply about what people think and what they say. He has established a clear channel for interacting with him and he maintains it better than anyone else I know.

    Whilst Seth does recommend types of engagements for some companies, he doesn’t blindly recommend it for all companies. Engagement isn’t some magical silver bullet. Have you seen Apple’s engagement efforts? No? It didn’t stop them from becoming one of the most valuable companies in the planet. Engagement, like most things, is useful…sometimes…

    Blind engagement, however, shouldn’t be encouraged.

  3. I totally understand why Govs want to use soc med as a Broadcast tool, I just dont think they should. If I can run channels with 1 million members with 1 part timer & a monitoring station, why cant Gov?
    My one day workshops Craig are on how to build soc med monitoring stations. Now the DoJ has to deal with discussions OFF their channels eg this one.

    Richard, if Seth gave social media a go, he wouldnt have to do 1-to-1, old fashioned emails! Seth is master of trad marketing of trendy subjects with no deep knowledge. Im sure he’s lovely as a person but he sells BOOKS about engagement. You still dont understand the implication of what Seth said. Writing with his community in mind IS engagement. Refusing to consider the commenters is traditional Broadcast messaging.

    Soc med is not about private conversations between member & host/gov. You should ask more from your Gov, IMHO. And insisting on voters contacting them via traditional means instead of on channels where they are already discussing policies etc … Well that piper will have to be paid in the future ^^

  4. I laughed… I know, it’s not meant to be funny, but when people who set up SOCIAL media don’t want to be social, ie listen to the will of the people, then it’s funny. Thanks Laurel, please keep up the great work of social media monitoring.

    The past few governments have fallen because they lost touch with people. I actually heard one politician say that they didn’t ask people what they thought about a particular situation because they wouldn’t know what they were talking about (my paraphrase of his words).

    It’s about time the people we have voted in realised that we are very well informed, politically savvy and care about what our politicians are doing with OUR money. Turning off comments informs us too.

  5. I support engagement between government employees and citizens and there is obviously a lot of learning going on. I believe your critique is over simplified though Laurel.

    When using my personal social media, email or mobile I’m not representing my employer, nor would I want to without being authorised to do so. My views that I express online are mine and mine alone.
    But codes of conduct for public servants are what they are – employees are expected to observe them. I’m always conscious of that.

    1. You are right – we don’t see Social Media Policies for how organisations will engage with voters. Well, except for Mosman Council. Usually it’s staff guidelines. DoJ doesn’t actually have a social media policy (they only use social media for advertising, not engagement, no comments anywhere) so they have Staff Guidelines for Personal Usage of Social Media. There’s a difference between using social media as an org and “managing” staff personal use of social media.

      I still think this will change. Just not yet.

      BTW staff are most vulnerable when protecting their employer – the soc med guy from QLD Police probably broke half a dozen rules in the way he “engaged” with me on Twitter, in defence of DoJ and Police everywhere. There is nothing in the guidelines telling staff escalation procedures for negative comments is there? Not that I saw anyway. *Goes off to have another look* Passionate protective and loyal behaviour will cause more problems than drunk and disorderly tweeting, I reckon. ^^

      1. DoJ doesn’t actually have a social media policy (they only use social media for advertising, not engagement, no comments anywhere)

        What about their Facebook accounts?

  6. Hi Laurel

    Thanks for an interesting and challenging post. I can understand your impatience with Government on the issue of their use of SM but wish you had singled out an agency that is doing nothing (there are plenty) rather than one that is working hard to improve its performance in that regard.

    I like that you have stepped into the world of Government and shone a light on these issues. I hope others will do the same but I also think there needs to be some acceptance that working in Government is not just like running a small business.

    Individual advocates working within Government often face layers of obstacles put in front of even the most basic initiative. To succeed they take things one step at a time – using YouTube with comments switched off is one of those small steps. As each step doesn’t lead to the sky falling in more and more can be done.

    The problem here is that by lambasting a ‘small step’ the next step has just got a bit more difficult.

    I’d like to see more critiques of Government engagement online and offline but I’d like to see it start with those who are not engaging at all not with those who are starting to move forward.

  7. I feel you’ve totally missed the point of why Department of Justice decided to use YouTube, comments disabled.

    As part of the project team which delivered this I’ll weigh in.

    Firstly though, I’ll address your three main points before this:

    1. “There is no mention of positive use of social media”
    —Yes, there is if you had read the Social Media Guidelines, you would’ve seen examples of how to use it, or if you had come to one of the many workshops we delivered when we rolled out the policy. This is where we educated employees beyond a video and took a deeper dive into the implications of being a public servant and having a life online, answering their questions and working through scenarios in person.

    And yes, we did ask for employees feedback and opinions prior to rolling out the policy via our internal social media channels, Yammer and The Hub.

    2. “Which means the Policy is missing the bit ‘How to support your community online”
    —-Yes, there is if you read the actual policy rather than just watch the video.
    See Professional Use of Social Media> Becoming authorised to comment http://www.justice.vic.gov.au/socialmedia
    Supporting the community online is a big priority for government, and one of the core components of Gov 2.0, so we make sure we provide the right training for those who want to be involved.

    3. “No mention of what to do with staff who see negative comments”
    Yes, there is, again read the ‘Identifying Inappropriate Use’ of the Social Media Policy section. Social Media Policy> Identifying Inappropriate Use http://www.justice.vic.gov.au/socialmedia

    If you had watched the video you’d see we took a commonsense approach to social media, just like personal use of the telephone at work, not the ‘hell no’ approach you advise above, baffling?!

    Firstly let’s be clear that a Social Media Policy video on YouTube is just one part of the toolkit.
    At Department of Justice the education on social media use included a formal policy (as you would for media comment, bullying), guidelines (plain english), a video and workshops.

    This was a fully integrated approach that we worked on for almost a year before rolling out, making sure we involved and engaged employees at all levels (not just senior executives), sought feedback and then provided appropriate training and education as part of the roll-out process.

    There was much more than just a video in the toolkit, although the video did provide interest and made sure employees got a grasp of social at Justice, had they got lost in the more formal policy wording.

    Now to your point of disabling comments on YouTube.

    Having the video available publicly on YouTube does allow transparency in how the Department view acceptable use of social media, in case you should catch an employee out of line or maybe an employee is unsure of their use of social media as a public servant, they can check at home where they don’t have access to the Intranet.

    As a social channel, commentary on YouTube is anonymous, which results in a a lot of spam, off-topic and lesser quality comments when people are not linked to their profile.

    We guided our staff (who the policy was intended for) to comment internally on the policy via Yammer, The Hub and workshops, embedding the video in these channels where comments had owners.

    I hope this clears things up and best of luck with your workshops in Canberra. Education is the best first step!

    1. Interesting – if I was a journalist, right about now I’d be saying: “DoJ official admits social media policy video does not deliver the Key content that explained clearly and thoroughly how staff are to engage with voters. Waste of taxpayers money?”

      The hub site has no links to an engagement site e.g. Twitter. And a minor point – I questioned how it was implemented, if there were workshops it’s not outlined, my not knowing is not through neglect.

      I stand by my opinion, DoJ is doing socia media tokenism. Australia DoJ is far and away behind overseas departments and this overly protective, policy on part of it’s social media consultants is not helping it move forward.

  8. Whilst your observations are accurate, I’d suggest they are a little unfair. As other comments have suggested, we’re dealing with public money here… And whilst it would be wonderful to have governments around Australia embrace social media in the way some leading, customer-centric organisations (banks, telcos, utility companies) have done, these kinds of shifts take time. 

    Compared to lots of government agencies, Justice is doing good stuff. Many government organisations still haven’t even managed to work out issues around digital signatures and electronic forms. Forget Web 2.0, they’re not even doing Web 1.0 properly.

    It’s a bit much to expect everyone’s jump into social media to be the deep end of the pool. 
    Changing the culture of a public service from command-and-control to one that embraces flexibility and innovation is going to take some time.

    They’ve got to be doing something right. This video has had more than 30k views and has been copied by almost a dozen others. The style has spawned a handful of related videos too (because the DOJ licensed this under Creative Commons).

    This was the first social media policy of any Victorian government department. It’s appropriate for the time and the phase of the journey. Take another read: it doesn’t say public servants can’t engage — it just tells them to take a measured approach. Good counsel, I reckon. 

    It’s also a bit unfair to say the Victorian Department of justice doesn’t engage using social media either. They were one of the first to have a Twitter account (with a history of two-way engagement), and have plenty of form for testing out two-way digital channels. Sure, some things work better than others, but at least they are giving it a crack. What about those hundreds of other agencies who aren’t doing anything?

    Not everyone is as experienced and adept at digital communication as you. Many organisations are quite comfortable engaging on multiple channels with a multitude of voices. For others, they are more comfortable taking cautious steps. Sometimes, “Shut up and listen” is actually the best approach.

    The last thing you want social media innovators to do is go out on a limb — without the protection of resources, experience or top-down support — because if they get it wrong will set the social media movement in their organisation back years. In government, people have long memories when it comes to previous failures. 

    Thought leaders like you have blazed a path for others to follow — and it’s not always easy out the front. But when it comes to government, the path can be even more tricky as the complexities of public money, competing resources, command-and-control cultures and the all important need to demonstrate return on investment complicate innovation. 

    I spent more than a decade working in government, and led the team who developed the very social media policy you’re talking about. And reckon they did a bloody fine job too! We need more public agencies like this who are prepared to get in the water, rather than standing by the edge of the pool still worrying about getting wet.

    (Darren Whitelaw is now in the private sector providing communication advice to companies and governments across Australia and New Zealand). 

    1. “Sometimes, “Shut up and listen” is actually the best approach. ”

      I’m confused. The voter should just shut up and listen is your social media strategy? That’s dangerous and marks Gov as culturally irrelevant in these times of meta government.

      Or do you mean DoJ is shutting up and listening? Cos DoJ is not shutting up. They are jabbering on YouTube. They are not listening as they turned off comments.

      *Laurel Papworth consults with Australian Government Departments on their social media strategies and has done for six years. She also worked with Singapore military over an 18 month period on their social media guidelines and strategies. Laurel has run workshops on social media monitoring for the last 6 years for Gov at a local, State and Federal level.

  9. Interesting perspective which I mostly disagree with! Always good to be challenged though!

    From a public participation perspective (both face-to-face and online) sometimes ‘informing’ is a perfectly legitimate part of community engagement. The Government isn’t in a position to always have a dialogue about an issue and I think that in this instance this is an example of where the Department of Justice is sharing something that isn’t open for comment. It’s their policy and it’s decided.

    Whilst I can understand arguments that say social media tools are all about two-way dialogue and therefore disabling comments is going against what it is all about, I actually admire the decision by the Department of Justice to disable comments because whilst it would be ‘nice’ to have a conversation about it, they aren’t open to negotiation on the content of the policy. They are using YouTube simply as a broadcast channel to inform the public/staff about their position on the topic of social media.

    I often talk about ‘upload fatigue’ in relation to the potential hazard we face in the process of over involving citizens in Government processes, decision-making and problem solving using online tools. It’s all too easy to invite comment or feedback on something that we have no intention of changing. This scarily echoes the problems we encounter in face-to-face engagement too – conversations for the sake of conversation when actually there is no one listening and no possibility of any negotiation. The ease and ethos of social media provides a potential huge threat of a modern day ‘consultation fatigue’ where the community become sick of talking with no one listening.

    I’d have more of a problem with it if the video was a consultation on the content of the policy and they disabled comments. But for now I will continue to use it as an example of a Government department embracing social media to communicate a message in an engaging format.

    Thanks for the opportunity to debate!

    1. Thank you for your comments Becky. And your honesty. It’s rare someone is willing to say “this is my stance and I’m not changing it”. I’m not sure that stance is a online community engagement strategy that is sustainable for Government, but I understand why some people think it is.

      It is interesting that when you disable comments all the debate takes place elsewhere – on my blog, on Twitter, in other channels. It’s outside of the Gov control and that may not be a good thing from their perspective but it means a lot more work monitoring and doing damage control. Eg the tweet from @justice_vic to try and manage the conversation. Turning off comments caused them a bigger issue. “This is what we’re doing, shut up and listen to it” is tricky to pull off in social channels as we discuss it anyway.

      There is still confusion regarding enabling debate in community vs call to action. E.g. malcolm turnbull discusses policies in online communities yet I doubt he takes a HUGE amount of notice of the responses. At this point, as we are not yet at Gov 3.0 stage, it’s enough.

      In the future, we will have a different response. Bring on MetaGov! 🙂

      1. I presume you are referring to the stance of the Government, Laurel?

        Let’s just be clear that being a community engagement practitioner who actively promotes genuine conversation, dialogue and deliberation with communities about things that are important to them, my personal stance is quite different to the way the Government might actually operate. But we have to acknowledge that the Government does occasionally have to take the stance (as you put it) that they have made a decision and are sticking to it. It’s part of governance.

        At the same time, the Government can equally provide opportunities for people to ‘have a say’ about issues that they are willing to negotiate on (though of course I could debate that too!) and they might choose more appropriate online spaces in which to do this – rather than via their YouTube comments. I would rarely recommend YouTube as a place for sound dialogue and deliberation about decision-making processes, but it may support a process.

        It’s only when the worlds of governance and social media collide that we end up with these challenges to face. In fairness it’s still a very new era that we find ourselves in and everyone is learning, especially Government. Let’s give them a break and praise any department willing to give it a go – supporting them where we can along the way with our expertise and knowledge.

        1. If there was an appropriate button on this site, I would give Becky Hirst’s comments a huge ‘LIKE’.

  10. Regarding the DoJ’s use of YouTube to post a staff policy / training video, is there anything in the video’s title, description, or content that may indicate that the target audience is anything other than ‘departmental employees and external contractors’?

    Or does the fact that something is on YouTube then mean that the target audience is everyone?

    If you are staff, you know how to give feedback – after all, the Department of Justice, Victoria put the policy up on an internal blog or wiki, and asked for feedback. Didn’t they?

    According to the response from DoJ staff, the answer seems to be yes. As I’m not a staff member or contractor, I have no way of confirming that, but then, I’m not the target audience, either.

    They respect you, know they are treading on your Brand of One and have fully engaged with their internal community, you, their staff. Haven’t they?

    Again, according to the DoJ response, the answer seems to be yes.

    Would this be as much of a storm in a teacup if the video hadn’t been published on YouTube, but was hosted on the DoJ site directly? Granted, a CC-BY-SA-NC licence wouldn’t have prevented anyone from re-publishing the video’s visuals on YouTube, albeit not on the official DoJ YouTube channel.

    It seems that a “put it on YouTube” directive may have simply been a euphemism for “get a video online [about this internal staff policy, linked to our official textual equivalent of this policy]” rather than “let’s use YouTube as a means of allowing staff to critique our social media policy, as it applies to them in this video”.

    Is it possible that the quality and quantity of comments received from DoJ staff may have been stifled if they knew that their responses were to be made public, tarred with the same “hoo boy, it’s another YouTube comment” brush?

    Or is the bigger issue here that you (or anyone who wasn’t under the employ of DoJ) weren’t pro-actively consulted in the formulation of this policy?

    You get the message because it’s on YOUR communiation channel, a social channel not a media channel. And social channels are for you to chat with other voters, stakeholders, influncers and generally be communicative.

    I’ve never felt like I owned YouTube, or the internet, mail service or phone lines, for that matter. I’m happy to own, define and control the filters that I apply to those channels, though. You may have received this message because you subscribed to the DoJ YouTube channel. Were you under the impression that subscribing also gave you the right to comment on a video not explicitly designed for your consumption or critiquing?

    As a taxpayer, I’ve probably felt more ownership of the ABC as a media channel than anything else. I appreciate that there’s accepted methods and channels for interacting with the ABC, depending on the nature of my enquiry / complaint. I also accept that, like YouTube videos, not every piece of content broadcast by the ABC is designed with me in mind.

    (Questions not rhetorical – interested to hear if perceived affordances of YouTube vs self-hosted video differ considerably with Social Media Experts)

    1. Interesting point NSME The above response about putting the video in a place where employees can watch who don’t have access to the Dept intranet is quite silly, You can easily make YouTube videos invite only and give out the private address to your employees. You can easily put the private address or the video on YouTube in the documentation. If they had done that, then the “confusion” would not have happened.

    1. It’s their site, their resources, their content and message. Being spammed or abused by those who don’t like your approach is not engagement, it’s harrassment.

  11. Great post, Its typical of large institutions to want to control rather than engage. Google had a similar issue with one of their engineers this week accidentally posting to google+ rather than the internal google mail. Googles PR dept response was brilliant.

    Googles response to the media however sucked quite a bit. They could of done so much better considering the mistake was a typical social ‘rookies’ mistake which I just blogged about.

  12. Laurel, good to see you pushing the need for more open government, however I agree with some other comments that this piece is a bit shallow. A bit more research of Vic DoJ and their social media activity would show there are plenty of examples where Victorian citizens can engage and provide comments on the work they are doing. Two campaigns to check out are championshipmoves.com.au and livenofear.com.au both sites have links to facebook and youtube where you can comment and engage in two-way conversation.

    Focusing on a single broadcast channel without comments enabled as an example to summarise a very large organisation is quite cursory.

    And just to clarify the premise that your argument is based on, citizens don’t vote for government agencies to represent them, they vote for members of parliament. So, in the example you provide it is not elected officials that have disabled comments on youtube but public servants.

  13. It just shows they are afraid to know our reactions. Since they turned the comment off, they would have to acquire and know our comments someplace else. How inconvenient for them.

  14. Who’s to say Ms Papworth is the expert and everyone has to do social media her way. They may not want to engage with the community particularly. They may just want to provide their information via a new channel which they can control a little better than the maintream media and at relatively little (public) cost. Social media is not a single entity or concept. The community will continue to discuss issues with or without government ‘engaging’ and who’s to say the lay-person has a real and practicle knowledge of how government works anyway? Have you read the Herald Sun coments section lately – 99% self obsesed nutters.

  15. I am definitely pro engagement, and I think anyone who decides to be in social media should open all areas for discussion. Even the government should be open-minded to that. It’s just a matter of moderation. Besides, engagements and discussions bring about beautiful splendid ideas that can lead to change and movement.

  16. Laurel, you are too right on this one! I feel that sometimes agencies like the DOJ stop becoming a democracy when they become so bureaucratic. When do you expect them to become well-versed in social media? My guess is sometime around 2025.

  17. Link exchange is nothing else but it is just placing the other person’s weblog link on your page at suitable place and other person will also do same in support of you.

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