I’m on a bit of a mission to set out some good practice around how individual public servants use social media as part of their job. Having been a civil servant and responsible for helping lots of colleagues join social media, I feel heavily invested in seeing this done well.
Plenty of public servants use social media as part of their work. But only a minority do it really well, and I think there’s a risk their efforts are diluted as more and more personal professional profiles become broadcast-heavy and unaccountable to their audience.
I set out some criteria, which we’ve been experimenting with, when public servants ask us for help with social media.
- Basic entry criteria: Must be a real person, running their own account (as far as we can tell)
- Frequency of posting = 1 pt
- The quality of their response (does it answer the question or continue the conversation or provide relevant info?) = 1pt
- Extra credit, for example responding to a difficult question = 2pt
- Remove credits for = avoiding talking about live issues, linking to information that could easily be blogged or tweeted, using twitter when the debate is happening elsewhere
Since first blogging about this a fortnight ago, I’ve received quite a lot of feedback. It’s all been brilliant: either to help improve my rudimentary ideas or build a list of exemplars (updated in the original post). In one or two cases the feedback has told me that I haven’t explained my position on this very well.
This is about current public servants using social media to describe their work in the public sector, and responding to questions from the public.
Matt Cain said in a few words what I struggled with in a blog post: “it’s not just the good stuff”.
Marilyn Booth said she thought it was mean to deduct points from people who don’t respond to difficult questions. It is mean, but when you look at the benchmark set by those on the exemplar list, answering difficult questions is what sets them apart.
I’m still looking for examples and I need your help: central Government departments, local Government and NHS in particular.
And of course I want your feedback on the criteria: what do you disagree with, or want to see strengthened?