Monday, May 18, 2009

Mind the Gap

Your organization’s web and communication teams likely did not include web 2.0 or social media staff from the start. Expectations for engagement and more accessible technologies are rapidly evolving and some communication shops – or many depending on who you ask – are playing catch up to become a more dynamic presence in the web sphere.

For the organizations that are adapting to the current state of communications and web presence, this can pose some challenges. Non-web experts who are familiar using social media tools may inform agency activities, non-public affairs types can develop content. So what?

New perspectives are great – until one side views the other as encroaching on their territory. Social media is supposed to be about leveling the playing field and providing access to organizations and information in a personal way. Expectations for engaging with the public is changing, a simple press release or Web site doesn’t always cut it. Now, consumers of information want access through various channels and on demand.

So why can’t we all just get it done?

I say the more people involved in different stages of the process, the merrier. Too often I find myself bogged down in routine response mode that I fail to see an issue in a new light. A fresh set of eyes and a new outlook can do wonders for an organization. Fresh perspective doesn’t have to be new blood - look within your own organization.

Bridge the gap – technical, web and content specialists should develop a relationship if one does not currently exist. As the saying goes, you are only as good as the weakest link. Every program that contributes to communication and social media strategies are equally important.

Without the technical platform there can be no message. Without the web team there can be no design. Without the content specialists, the well-designed channel would be empty.

If you haven’t worked with the other thirds (or fourths…) of the team, get together. You’d be surprised where you find common ground. You may even come up with a groundbreaking solution to a problem waiting for the few missing pieces to the puzzle.

Share your thoughts with the Social Media Subcouncil to help other organizations move forward in integrating Web 2.0 and traditional communication strategies. Visit the current list of best practices and governance models from government and the private sector. To stay up to date with the latest information, visit our wiki, follow us on Twitter , see us on GovLoop and take a look at the Social Media section of

Amanda Eamich is the Acting Director of New Media at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and member of the Social Media Subcouncil. You can connect with her on Twitter or GovLoop


  1. Hey! Great blog! I work for a government office in Canada and I can really feel your thoughts. :) BTW, have you thought about what percentage of a target audience a social media tool or website must attract in order to be considered a success? 5%, 10%...?

  2. Information Dissemination” is the second in a series of articles about how governments are embracing social media. instagram followers checker