LOCAL BY SOCIAL: What should Comms 2011 look like?

Back in the olden days all a press officer had to do was a write a press release and book a photo call.

Boy, how things have changed and more to the point are changing rapidly.

How web 2.0 and web 3.0 will affect the communications unit – or press office in old money – is something that I’ve spent a great deal of time mulling over. Why? Because it’s my job.

I’m a senior press officer at Walsall Council. The job I walked into in 2005 is almost unrecognisable to the one I do now. Yes, it now includes, Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media – or web 2.0 if you are a bit of a geek. But it’s also open data and the challenges of web 3.0.

The nice people from Local Government Improvement and Delivery have asked me to lead a session at their Local by Social online conference on November 3 2010 at 3pm. Looking at the speaker line up it’s something of an honour. There’s plenty for people to get their teeth into on a whole range of subjects.

I’d very much like to hear what your thoughts are. Take part ion the session. Chip in. Listen. It’s all fine. 

Firstly, here is a presentation designed as a starting point and to get the ball rolling…

Secondly, here are a few thoughts I blogged a month or two back. You can read the full version here.

In the days before the web the press office needs to:

Have basic journalism skills.

Know how the machinery of local government works.

Write a press release.

Work under speed to deadline.

Understand basic photography.

Understand sub-editing and page layouts.

For web 1.0 the press office also needed to:

Add and edit web content

For web 2.0 the press office also needs to:

Create podcasts

Create and add content to a Facebook page.

Create and add content to a Twitter stream.

Create and add content to Flickr.

Create and add content to a blog.

Monitor and keep abreast of news in all the form it takes from print to TV, radio and the blogosphere.

Develop relationships with bloggers.

Go where the conversation is whether that be online or in print.

Be ready to respond out-of-hours because the internet does not recognise a print deadline.

For web 3.0 the press office will also need to:

Create and edit geotagged data such as a Google map.

Create a data set.

Use an app and a mash-up.

Use basic html.

Blog to challenge the mis-interpretation of data.

But with web 3.0 upon us and the pace of change growing faster to stay relevant the comms team has to change.


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