Developing a digital passport…well hopefully

Last year I put together a “very simple” social media awareness session for our councillors and one of the learning points for me was to push forward with a Digital Passport idea.

We need to develop a “Digital Passport” training programme which supports members and staff to feel confident to use these tools and feel supported by the organisational frameworks and guidance that exists or needs to be developed.

Time flies when you’re having fun, and I can’t believe it is already March and I’ve yet to even sit down and put my ideas onto paper, so this blog post is an attempt at that process.

So, why a digital passport?

I thought long and hard about whether this was something that was actually needed and i came to the conclusion that it probably isn’t critical, but would certainly provide a bit of support to the people who are using the tools outside of a corporate communications or web team.

I’m all for a wider range of people to use social media in and across the council, but part of me thinks that organisational we lose the learning and experience gained from across the user base and we also lose sight of what is and isn’t good and effective use.

However using some kind of “passport” user could gain experience points and essentially work up to something like a “five-star tweeter” or something equally “digital”.

One of the benefits in creating such a passport would be when people decide to move around the organisation or even leave the organisation…they could say that they were managing the [insert service name] twitter account and had a 4 star twitter use and a 3 star Facebook use on their passport then you could have some confidence that they at least knew what they were doing…whereas, if someone came into the organisation (unlikely in current climate but you get my drift) and said I use twitter and Facebook all the time, day and night, how can you ensure that they at least understand the differences between managing personal accounts and professional accounts.

Maybe I’m over thinking this, but three is something for me in perhaps collaborating in a local government and wider public sector “digital passport” so we could recognise the experience people are gaining in new media channels and we start to understand what “excellent usage” looks like.

Part of developing such a tool would be part of the learning itself as i don’t think we are capable of answering all those questions now, but we can probably all say what we wouldn’t want to see and that is a start.

In a crude way it is a bit like someone doing the ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence) but for social and digital media tools.

Tools initially in my thinking are:

  • twitter
  • facebook
  • youtube / vimeo
  • flickr

Thoughts and comments welcome as well as any offers to collaborate on such a tool



Further developing the Content Strategy

It has been a fascinating process developing the councils first content strategy, the personal learning and development which I’ve had to do as well as helping others understand the benefits of what we are calling a content strategy has also been an interesting and rewarding challenge.

In an email conversation with Sarah Lay (my unofficial content strategy peer review person) we touched on the issue of whether the content strategy I am creating is actually what the content strategy community would recognise as one…we both agreed and concluded that it didn’t really matter, as long as it did the job!

We touched on the fact that in #localgov we are really getting to a point where a group of disciplines are coming together and depending on your organisation it is likely to approach it slightly differently.

The types of things the content strategy is informing, linking to and dependant on are (in no particular order):

  • Communications strategy
  • Engagement Strategy
  • ICT Strategy
  • Information Strategy
  • Access Strategy

It has replaced a traditional web strategy altogether in my mind as we recognise that the “web” as a platform is essentially how we will manage our ICT infrastructure.

So unpicking the old web strategy further, a new strategy which is the responsibility of my ICT colleagues is an Application Strategy – this is essentially the strategy that informs our delivery of online services.

In my informal consultation on the draft content strategy, it has become clear that:

a) everyone agreed with the spirit of the document but it relied on conversation and explanation to answer people’s questions as they weren’t found in the document < but this is what the process was intended to tease out.

b) I didn't clearly articulate the strategic direction and focused too much on the 2 year roadmap < people were actually more engaged in where we are going than I had anticipated.

c) people didn't understand some aspects of what it is being proposed and the full extent of how we would apply a global experience language < My view is that it will be a complete rule book covering our web domain and not just the visual design of it, it will also form a critical and core part of a future procurement and commissioning framework for web/digital stuff.

One of the benefits of developing a content strategy is that I don't feel we need a social media strategy now. If we get the content strategy correct then our use of social media platforms to increase the engagement and interaction with our content will naturally increase…this does not mean that our use of social media will simply go crazy…but more than we will focus on the needs of the content, where the audience is and how we connect our content with the audience…the logical conclusion is that it won't be on our website but in social spaces.

And it is this strategic direction which people are really supportive of and are really engaged with…I've got one more week of informal consultations then a period of refinement and amendments on my document (which I've already started) then the content strategy will be ready for formal sign off internally by our corporate leadership team (gulp).

The next few weeks are going to be interesting.