Social Media is Driven by the Person, Not the Position

Last Wednesday, I moderated a panel discussion on Government 2.0 for the Social Media Club, DC Chapter, where I had the opportunity to speak with, and more importantly, learn from, some of the people most responsible for that phrase – Government 2.0. I’m not even speaking of just the panelists – it seemed like virtually every attendee could have been one of the “experts” on the panel (and probably have been at some point).

Social Media Club DC Government 2.0 Panel

Social Media Club DC Government 2.0 Panel

Panelists included:

As I began the discussion, focusing first on the definition of Government 2.0, and then diving into some of the unique challenges the government faces, I noticed something about the three panelists and the 100 or so people in the audience.  This was a gathering of people interested in Government 2.0 and how this concept is fundamentally changing the way our government operates and the audience wasn’t filled with Chief Technology Officers, Chief Information Officers, Directors, or Secretaries – it was filled with scientists, contractors, members of the media, webmasters,and start-ups.

That’s when it really hit home for me, that the present and future of social media within the government doesn’t lie with whom President Obama’s CTO will be, or what memos and directives the Obama administration will issue.

Social media is driven by the person, not the position.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a GS-7 working on a government website, a concerned citizen, or a Chief Technology Officer – social media isn’t about the title, it’s about the person.  It’s about the person who has seen the potential of social media to make a change for the better and who has done something about it.  It’s about the guy who convinces his administrator to do a press conference on Twitter.  It’s about the group of people who self-organize a Government 2.0 Barcamp.  It’s about the IT specialist who starts an entire social network dedicated to Government 2.0 in his spare time.

Speculating about Obama’s CTO or the impact this Administration will have on Government 2.0 is fun, but if you really want an idea of the future of social media and government, stop looking at the titles that follow the name, and focus instead on the person behind the name.  Some of the most exciting things happening in Government 2.0 have their roots not in corner offices, but from cubicles, personal laptops, happy hours, and networking events.

*Photo courtesy of Mark Drapeau

, , ,

About sradick

I’m Vice President, Director of Public Relations at Brunner in Pittsburgh.

Find out more about me here (http://steveradick.com/about/).

View all posts by sradick
  • Darn tootin’! At EPA, for example, a new employee came up with the idea of doing a contest on YouTube to create outstanding videos to teach people about testing for radon.

    That said, the key to me is for these individual efforts to eventually come together to light a fire at the highest levels. Then we’ll see the transformation from isolated pilots to these tools becoming a normal part of the landscape.

    For a little more on that concept, see our outgoing Deputy Administrator’s blog post: http://blog.epa.gov/blog/2009/01/15/on-change/

  • Darn tootin’! At EPA, for example, a new employee came up with the idea of doing a contest on YouTube to create outstanding videos to teach people about testing for radon.

    That said, the key to me is for these individual efforts to eventually come together to light a fire at the highest levels. Then we’ll see the transformation from isolated pilots to these tools becoming a normal part of the landscape.

    For a little more on that concept, see our outgoing Deputy Administrator’s blog post: http://blog.epa.gov/blog/2009/01/15/on-change/

  • Pingback: Top Social Media Posts This Week()

  • Pingback: Top Social Media Posts This Week | Webtrendblog.com()

  • Katherine Tobin

    I agree that passionate people at any level can make a difference in social media. However, many people who haven’t bought into social media still use a person’s title as an indicator of their credibility. Since the social media world is so new, “experts” can often choose their own titles–some traditional (Collaboration Manager, Social Media Lead), and some more reflective of the new media’s culture (Doyen, Maven). Which title is more effective? The latter tend to stick in people’s minds since they are unusual, whereas the former might be more comfortable for social media skeptics and non-adopters. Where do you stand on this issue? If social media is driven by the person, not the position…but the position title could be created anyway, what is the most effective combination?

  • Katherine Tobin

    I agree that passionate people at any level can make a difference in social media. However, many people who haven’t bought into social media still use a person’s title as an indicator of their credibility. Since the social media world is so new, “experts” can often choose their own titles–some traditional (Collaboration Manager, Social Media Lead), and some more reflective of the new media’s culture (Doyen, Maven). Which title is more effective? The latter tend to stick in people’s minds since they are unusual, whereas the former might be more comfortable for social media skeptics and non-adopters. Where do you stand on this issue? If social media is driven by the person, not the position…but the position title could be created anyway, what is the most effective combination?

  • I think you’re still too focused on the title itself. Focus instead on what you DO. Focus on what you’ve written. My title serves only as context-setter – “social media lead” – it doesn’t imply that I’m expert in any way, or even that I know what I’m talking about. This blog, my presentations, my internal blog, my wiki pages, etc. – that’s what I want “sticking in people’s minds.”

    Use you as an example – you’ve made some really good traction at your company with what you’ve actually accomplished, not with what your title is. People know your name because of your blog, your client work, your wiki edits…not because you have some arbitrary title. The title should simply serve to give your audience – whether it’s a Vice President or a client or a colleague – some context on who it is they’re speaking with, not convey the level of you’re expertise.

  • I think you’re still too focused on the title itself. Focus instead on what you DO. Focus on what you’ve written. My title serves only as context-setter – “social media lead” – it doesn’t imply that I’m expert in any way, or even that I know what I’m talking about. This blog, my presentations, my internal blog, my wiki pages, etc. – that’s what I want “sticking in people’s minds.”

    Use you as an example – you’ve made some really good traction at your company with what you’ve actually accomplished, not with what your title is. People know your name because of your blog, your client work, your wiki edits…not because you have some arbitrary title. The title should simply serve to give your audience – whether it’s a Vice President or a client or a colleague – some context on who it is they’re speaking with, not convey the level of you’re expertise.

  • Thanks for the post Steve! Glad to have you participate, and think that everyone really enjoyed the session.

  • Thanks for the post Steve! Glad to have you participate, and think that everyone really enjoyed the session.

  • Pingback: ProjectVRM Blog » Loose Links()

  • Pingback: Is Enterprise 2.0 Learned From a Book or From Doing? | Social Media Strategery()

  • Normally I don’t leave a comment but your post was excellent, well written and informative.

  • Normally I don’t leave a comment but your post was excellent, well written and informative.

  • biappedge

    ?????? ????-????? 2008 ???? ?? 200 ??. ???? ????????. ??????!!!
    +7 960 200 9209

  • biappedge

    ?????? ????-????? 2008 ???? ?? 200 ??. ???? ????????. ??????!!!
    +7 960 200 9209

  • Nice Site. I will be visiting more often as you have done a good job.

  • Nice Site. I will be visiting more often as you have done a good job.

  • I’m not big on commenting, but nice post.

  • I’m not big on commenting, but nice post.

  • what an idea, good point

  • what an idea, good point

  • Thank you for this, I really like reading your views.

  • Thank you for this, I really like reading your views.

  • I’m not one to comment often, but nice post. I appreciate the time you put into it.

  • I’m not one to comment often, but nice post. I appreciate the time you put into it.

  • great stuff thanx 🙂

  • great stuff thanx 🙂

  • Pingback: Social Media is Driven by the Person Not the Position Social | Wood TV Stand()

  • Pingback: Social Media is Driven by the Person Not the Position Social | Weak Bladder()

  • nice post 🙂

  • nice post 🙂

  • Pingback: Social Media is Driven by the Person Not the Position Social | fire pit()

  • Very nice information. Thanks for it. – http://www.backlinkplus.com

  • Very nice information. Thanks for it. – http://www.backlinkplus.com

  • Pingback: Twenty Theses for Government 2.0, Cluetrain Style | GovFresh - Government 2.0()

  • Excellent post. Thank you for having a quality site.

  • Excellent post. Thank you for having a quality site.

  • Hi,

    Thanks for the information,just found this post my technorati news feed section! I was searching for this since past 3 months and i am glad to see it here. Thanking you much

    Martin

  • Hi,

    Thanks for the information,just found this post my technorati news feed section! I was searching for this since past 3 months and i am glad to see it here. Thanking you much

    Martin

  • i think what you write this is true, its depend from that person how to drive his/her into the social media.

  • i think what you write this is true, its depend from that person how to drive his/her into the social media.

  • Thanks! Good news 🙂

  • Thanks! Good news 🙂

  • very interesting article…
    can you send other articles by email
    thanks

  • very interesting article…
    can you send other articles by email
    thanks

  • Hi,

    Just found your blog on Technorati & Digg upcomming news feeds and read a few of your other posts.
    ISeems good contents,Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Thanks,
    Michael

  • Hi,

    Just found your blog on Technorati & Digg upcomming news feeds and read a few of your other posts.
    ISeems good contents,Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Thanks,
    Michael

  • Hi,

    Just found your blog on Technorati & Digg upcomming news feeds and read a few of your other posts.
    ISeems good contents,Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Thanks,
    Michael

  • Hi,

    Just found your blog on Technorati & Digg upcomming news feeds and read a few of your other posts.
    ISeems good contents,Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Thanks,
    Michael