Blog post

When Government Organizations are Impermeable to Change

By Andrea Di Maio | May 29, 2011 | 3 Comments

social networks in government

I met the CIO and the IT strategist from a large government organization to discuss about social media and gov 2.0. The organization had been using Facebook and Twitter for some time to reach out to constituents, and the whole discussion was about what to do next.

I made my usual point that the right perspective to explore strategic options is an employee-centric one, looking at social media as increasingly important components of the workplace, rather than simple communication tools. We ended up discussing how employees could be using social media for engagement purposes.

While the CIO seemed to be more willing to listen to how managing the boundary between personal and professional use is key to create value from social media engagement, his colleague looked and sounded quite dismissive. He said that he has and uses multiple identities on Facebook and other media, in order to create an airtight separation between his different roles and be sure to comply with the code of conduct. I hope he realized that having multiple identities breaches the terms and conditions of many social media platform, and could not be endorsed as a strategy by his organization.

The other thing that I found interesting was that he proudly showed a diagram describing their future information architecture, but when I asked how he was factoring in external information available in consumer social media platforms, he admitted that he hadn’t thought about that.

I was surprised. The IT strategist was clearly a competent person, but he had missed aspects that cannot be missed for any future-proof IT strategy. Sometimes even the most competent people are not ready to comprehend or accept change, when this implies disruption or discontinuity.

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  • Very true article… even though i believe this is not true only for government organizations but also for ALL organizations!!

  • cyberdoyle says:

    I spoke to the head of communications at a city council. That person said they didn’t use fb or twitter or chat or any social media, they had ‘people to do that for them’.

    I spoke to the head of IT at a very large secondary school. He said they had saved a fortune by using open source (office) instead of microsoft. He then asked me which I recommended for the operating systems on the school pcs, he said he had heard of ubuntu and linux…
    😉 you couldn’t make it up…

  • Nick Charney says:

    Andrea – I am a huge proponent of the employee centric model, I’ve elaborated on it in my most recent post, which includes a link back to this one. I thought it may be of interest: