Everyone is a Public Affairs Officer

This week I was teaching our first Community Managers Boot Camp.  This class was developed to be an intensive small group three day class focused on a specific group of Community Managers who are preparing to run a specific community.  It is a combination of team building, strategic, tactical and hands on experiences that are designed to help make our Community Managers successful during their first year or so of running a community.  Upon completion of the class they will have developed a draft strategy, promotional plan and crisis management plans.

Photograph by Vlastula

The interesting thing with this class was there were three community managers.  Most of them had very little experience with social media except in their personal capacities.  All three are foreign service policy officers.  On the second day, one of the community managers asked me if they will really have to do all of these activities as part of their job and wasn’t there someone else who could do this work.

It struck me.  He wasn’t asking the question because he was lazy or not interested.  It was more of a comment.  He had always thought all of his current life choices for working in foreign affairs and on foreign policy.  In his mind that didn’t include this technology stuff or having to deal with the public.

The reality is the world is changing and how we do work is also changing.  Due to the introduction of new technologies they are causing all of us to have to become proficient in their use if we are to stay competitive and be successful.  This means we will have to be open to change  and be prepared to learn new skills.

All of us are now required in some way shape or form to be Public Affairs Officers.  We have to understand how to deal with the public, how to represent our organization, and how to engage people online.  This can be very foreign to people who thought public engagement and technology were not part of their job descriptions.  It is.

There are no guarantees about what our work lives will be like or consist of.  The only sure thing is that things will continue to change and evolve both due to the introduction of disruptive technologies and also our changing needs.  As was discussed at Government 2.0 Camp LA, Alan Silberberg (@ideagov)and Bill Grundfest (@billgrundfest) say, “Congratulations you are now in show business.  Now, what?.” We all have the opportunities to be stars.  The question is, what are you going to do with your opportunity?

This entry was posted in Community Management, Government, Lovisa A. Williams, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Everyone is a Public Affairs Officer

  1. Pingback: Everyone is a Public Affairs Officer (via Athena’s Lightning – A blog by Lovisa A. Williams) « IdeaGov

  2. Pingback: Gov 2.0 Radio Hot Links – August 23, 2010 | Gov 2.0 Radio

  3. Pingback: Gov 2.0 Radio Hot Links – August 23, 2010 « Adriel Hampton: Wired to Share

  4. Jeff Stanger says:

    Agreed. And similarly, technology turns every institution into a potential direct communicator, no longer reliant on media as a conduit to the public.

  5. David Stepman says:

    Interesting post you got here. It would be great to read something more about that topic. The only thing that blog misses is some pictures of some gadgets.

    David Stepman
    jammer mobile phone

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