Web 2.0 Musings

Creating tools for public engagement in secret

shh! by richard winchell.

photo credit richard winchell

This is a WTF post.

There are several organisations that I’m aware of at present developing social media strategies in secret.

At the core of all these strategies lie themes of transparency, accessibility, open communication, and community engagement. Yet the strategies themselves are being designed with the minimum of public consultation and behind closed doors.

This is patently ridiculous. To try and design tools which are intended to further public interaction, without involving the public in the process is like flying blind. We should be using existing engagement tools to create better engagement tools. We should be evolving strategies and learning from the process of public consultation to create better tools for public consultation.

The statement made is “We want to create tools for better public engagement, but we want to create them without engaging the public”. Can anybody else see the issue here?


1 thought on “Creating tools for public engagement in secret”

  1. Hi Jay 🙂

    Interesting post, I’m not sure what kinds of organisations you’re referring too, I’m presuming councils, but I imagine the same issues affect other institutions with entrenched cultures. I suspect they’re suffering from defensive thinking and that their aim may be to engage the social media for their own ends (reasonable enough), but the challenge they are facing is to engage with a new culture that has so far evolved without them, has a completely different set of values, and won’t play by the same rules. It’s a kind of culture shock, I guess!

    One day soon they will make that leap of faith that everyone who really engages with social media makes, that of being open to collaboration with strangers in the presence of more strangers (and invisible ones at that), a relationship that requires an extraordinary amount of trust when you come to think of it. Perhaps it’s harder for big organisations than for people acting as individuals? Or perhaps you’ve really got to want to do it!


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