Waiting for the smoke

Analogies help explain things that are complicated; whether we overcomplicate them in the first place; possible and in some cases probable or whether they are things or processes that just aren’t easy to explain. I suppose it’s a sort of translation for the ‘man on the street’, and helps people to understand more easily.

You may have recently watched the events broadcast from St. Peter’s Square in Rome. Most people knew what was happening but wanted to witness the smoke, then what colour it was and then the outcome of what it actually represented; a new Pope. An hour of almost pantomime like theatre, not in a farce way, was played out, but people generally knew what it meant and wanted to be apart of it.

After a fair bit of organising, the group of people from Leeds City Council that I mentioned in the last post, who volunteered to better understand what being a more social media friendly organisation might be, met for the first time last week. We are looking at voice, context and values and how they apply to digital identities. In other words, who we are as people and services, how we might come across, what tools we might use and how it might help us in our work. And then, how that might help in better explaining what we do, in connecting and creating conversations with people we work with and with those who use our services.

It is part of a pilot to see if we can introduce new ways of working into areas of our organisation that have not yet embraced social media or fully realised the opportunities and benefits it can bring. These folk are supporting each other and sharing what they know and the skills they already have or will be learning. On the face of it, use of social media might not seem like a big deal for those who have been the early adopters. But it is for some of our service areas and it is for some of the people we serve. There is a lot of the existing work that councils do that these new skills will help with, adding value for both staff and service users. And these voice, context and values skills are just as important in non-digital areas too.

Most changes start with a conversation. This pilot will also look at how we might change thinking about trying new ways of working. Making changes that this pilot may bring will take time, needs nurturing, support, constructive challenge and to be encouraged to happen – hence the concept of more sociable places and connections, and starting to look at other ways of doing things too.

We don’t know exactly where the pilot will end up but I have a good feeling, faith even, there will be some good outcomes and we will no doubt learn. Always a good thing.

So look out for the smoke. We will be using the hashtag #CEI13, please be supportive.

Phil Jewitt
Senior communications manager
Leeds City Council

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About Phil Jewitt

Comms guy and meaning maker, living in that place between personal and professional. Home is Leeds, Yorkshire. I work in communications for Leeds City Council, the 2nd largest council - with a lot to talk about and a lot to listen to. http://philjewitt.wordpress.com http://www.linkedin.com/pub/phil-jewitt/19/853/6b7 http://twitter.com/philjewitt
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One Response to Waiting for the smoke

  1. Pingback: Social Media – So What ? | The Sociable Organisation

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