Anyone who works in PR has probably come across unflattering assumptions that our job is to cover up bad stuff and pump out good news. We know though that we want to inform and engage, particularly in public sector PR. We work using our personal ethics, a commitment to be non-political, the CIPR code of conduct and a special need to have conversations and take part in two-way symmetric communications. This is why social media is a dream to us public sector types.
We, of all PRs, are happy to ‘lose control of the message’ in return for a chance to really hear what people think and give answers to the questions we didn’t previously know people were asking. We don’t want to broadcast our message to many any more but we do relish the chance to put our side of the story out there, where people are talking about us.
But, not all PRs are on Twitter or other social media platforms, some of us are bamboozled by techy stuff, others are under pressure and over worked to get involved and some of us have to fight our managers not understanding or IT and HR restricting access.
So I’ve set up a Yammer community for us to share our experiences, policies, ideas and grumbles.
We can share with people in the same boat who are starting out or learn the lessons of those who are making progress.
There are lots of other great ways to share out there, the Communities of Practice being a great example, and Twitter hashtags like #gov20 #cllrsocmed and #localgov throw up some brilliant chats, case studies and resources. This is just another way to talk about how we can make best use of social media.
Once you’re in, you can invite public sector PRs you think might find the group helpful.
*UPDATE 04/07/2011* Turns out it’s not just useful for PRs, we have all sorts of public sector disciplines in the community now (98 members from 40 organisations) so feel free to join if you’re not in a comms-y role.