UK Gov. requires Director of Digital Engagement
Its Sunday morning and I usually take a time-out to go, browse through the Sunday papers, have a nice cafe cortado, and think about the week to come. This morning though I came across something very interesting in the Mail on Sunday.
The UK Government wants a Twitter supremo to manage and integrate the new digital technology into the infrastructure of daily government communication and practice. This is very interesting on a number of levels.
I read through the Mail on Sunday article and took the details of the vacancies web address to check it out some more. Details of the vacancy can be found under Director of Digital Engagement on the Careers.civil-service.gov.uk site.
Now, reverting back to the Mails article. Some of the comments are truly surprising and I wish to address them. The author of the article is one Mr. Simon McGee, seemingly an avid journalist and writer in the Mail group from the results I found when searching for his name, but seemingly not someone who is familiar with the importance or use of twitter itself. If he had a twitter account I could have contacted him directly to clarify his point of view.
The first point to address is this:
The salary, (up to 160k per year) which is only slightly less than the Prime Minister earns, was seized on by critics last night as a further sign of ministers’ obsession with the internet, despite the fact that millions of people, particularly the elderly, have no access to a computer.
Critics are complaining at a decent recognition by the government of an incredibly important job? Right, that shows they have no idea what they are talking about to start with. I suppose they are under the impression that its all kids online and they is no possible value to this new “craze”. Why not ask President Obama about Twitter first and see what he has to say, or even better check out his twitter account instead. I suppose communication with 308,855 followers has little or no value in the political spectrum.
In my opinion the UK Government are doing exactly what they should be doing. Recognising the importance and value of and educating themselves about the social media available and implementing plans to integrate it effectively. A point that the official response backs up:
Officials say the latest post being created is ‘in recognition of the huge increase in the use of the internet, digital communities and social media‘ and because ‘digital engagement‘ is now considered a key Government priority.
Tory MP Philip Davies
The second point to address is this one:
‘It is a grotesque amount of public money to waste on a pointless job. It is absolutely obscene at a time when Britain is going through one of the most serious financial crises in its history.’
In no small part this is an excellent reflection on your lack of understanding regarding the social network as a medium, especially as a politician who SHOULD thrive on data, information, contacts and communication especially with his own constituents.
Without understanding the social network and by stating that this is a “grotesque waste” on a “pointless job” you are simply highlighting the fact that you are not open to the development and transparency that these mediums can offer to government or the yourself as a representative of the people.
The UK Governements Response
Let me quote again something that is FACT and on the increase.
A Cabinet Office spokesman said: ‘Millions of people find out about things and express their opinions on the internet, so it is vital that Government departments engage with citizens through digital channels.
‘We have created this post to support and encourage all departments to become excellent at using these techniques alongside traditional engagement methods.’
Indeed via the opportunity of two way communication one lady called Alison from Cardiff has responded to the Mails article with this:
If this is true I’m so qualified for this i sense a new career beckoning – and a complete about turn on my (previous) biased, vindictive posts against the Government, which I now completely retract. I will heartily endorse any MPs expense account – and I’ll make sure there’ll be a group on Facebook to validate, and revoke all criticism to the contrary.
I’ll put all MP’s on Twitter – and make them aware of Bebo and what an RSS feed means, plus how to do on line blogging. In my new role of ‘Director of Digital Engagement’ I’ll show them how to embrace the digital age and to wield a ‘Blackberry’ better than Obama. Give me a month and I’ll have the House of Commons break dancing in a train station near you!!
I think I’ll have problems in explaining what a ‘poke’ means on Facebook, especially to Blunkett – but that’s how I’ll earn my humongous salary, Be afraid – be very afraid – and no the 160k has absolutely nothing to do with it – I would never sell my soul for money!
A response similar to my own in regards the foresight the government has in creating this role. Unfortunately it also means I have to convince them I’m the best person for the role and not her! :P
The role will certinaly be interesting and challenging for whoever fills it, especially as the job ahead will take patience and understanding in helping people such as the right honorable Philip Davies understand exactly whats going on and the benefits of using these tools. Wake up folks, a soft revolution is occuring and you dont even seem to be aware that its going on.