Updated: Feb 25, 2020
Earlier this year I presented a workshop in Canberra at the 13th Social Media for Gov Summit. The workshop was titled A Social Media Tool Kit for Genuine Connection in the Public Sector.
Social Media in the public sector certainly has its challenges. The pressure coming from the general public along with fellow representatives and the system itself is at times a lot for government employees to deal with. On top of this they (the employees) can experience hostile behaviour from social media users as they vent their frustrations, resentment and anger towards the systems that govern us. A challenging role at times that calls for an ability to observe and not take on other people 'stuff'.
People don't often consider when they are writing on a public forum that those receiving their complaints are often not the policy makers themselves; but rather the middle men, or in this case the social media managers, trained in marketing and not necessarily with a degree in counselling on the side. One could say we all need these life skills, the kind that teach us to observe and respond to life without absorbing the hurts and frustrations of others and this was the main focus of the workshop...to create a space for the participants to discuss some of the practical tools that would support them in their role.
It was a packed workshop with the majority of attendees displaying clear dedication and purpose in their work. There was already quite a strong grasp of the need to be very observant and hence objective and so the focus of the discussion geared towards deepening our understanding and clarity around challenging situations to then know how to respond.
The group also discussed what 'genuine' connection actually is, what it looks like in its outplay and the fact that we all know the difference between a connection that is genuine, or one that doesn't really cut the mustard, regardless of whether we are face to face or behind a screen.
The take home from the workshop was that no matter what role we fill, it is our responsibility to observe what is happening around us to the best of our ability and with that to look for the deeper insight and understanding, as opposed to simply reacting and taking things on.