I have long subscribed to the belief that our initiatives in the online communication world will eventually change the way the government functions. From our internal capacity to support a robust online environment to providing public servants with the general understanding and toolkit of web tools that can make them more effective, more than any time over the last decade I see the Gov2.0 movement starting to shape the new bureaucracy.
How does an organization this size manage this shift? As someone who manages an online communications team, I’ve seen numerous attempts to address this over the last years – major restructuring, semblances of web governance, decentralized management and ad hoc committees among them.
For my part, it means this; recognizing the landscape is shifting and that new skillsets have to be ushered in order to effectively, and professionally manage this facet of communications. This recognition and transformation takes time at an enterprise level. As those of us working in the 2.0 world well know, time is a precious commodity and months wasted can lead to missed opportunities.
And so, I recommend taking advantage of the lack of formal governance and work to shape it. If you’re in a position to influence a “2.0′ing” of the bureaucracy – do it! Those of us responsible for the advancement of the government’s online efforts are the ones best positioned to steer the course.
Create the positions you need, fill them with those ready and able to take on the challenges of an exciting and evolving environment and demonstrate your results, successes and opportunities for growth.
Over the last two years, my focus has been on building a team based not on traditional communication functions or by reshuffling personnel files. It has been a process of auditing positions, researching and rewriting job descriptions and having them reclassified to not only reflect the current tasks, but to also anticipate and support an unknown future in new media.
Structure/functions of an ideal web team
While I don’t have the number of positions available to me to build that ideal web team (at left) I remain hopeful that as the 2.o movement spreads, all communication positions will come under a microscope and go through similar exercises.
The web, in just over a decade of real existence in the government, is already at the 2.0 stage with 3.0 already seeping in. As a result, gone are the communication ‘generalists’ on my team. I’m extremely proud to now have a “community manager” on my team. While I won’t pretend to be the first to create such a position, it’s more than likely it’s still a rarity in an organization that should be ripe with them.
Web 2.0 government folk have long championed the need for senior leadership in order to create the foundations and make the advances necessary. While I don’t disagree with that, I think it will require leaders from all levels stepping up and affecting the change they are able to at their level. In this case, if senior managers want something new and dynamic, which they will, make sure your team is ready to stand and deliver.