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Social media people speak up about career empowerment: “Help us help you”

Last week, I posted a discussion topic on Govloop asking what social media people want in their career.

Seeing that social media is a relatively new sphere, especially within the government space, it was interesting to note the variety of responses received–ranging from a personal desire to make a difference to opportunities to innovate to a reminder of the need for a simple “thank you!”

A common sentiment that echoed throughout the discussion thread, however, was the need to be empowered. SM people want to have the freedom to learn and to be as Jacque (Brown) Myers put it, “on the bleeding edge of technology and communications.” They want the flexibility to be able to implement innovative new processes. Yet they cannot work alone. Management support is crucial.

Here’s what people had to say:

– “…one of the most difficult things to achieve is flexibility. There is often a fear of the unfamiliar, especially because the rules of social media are pretty different from the rules of standard media. Number one on my wishlist is freedom to innovate.” – Deborah Cox, Tallahassee, FL

– “Staying abreast of all that is going on so that I can provide the most value possible to my boss/client is also an important aspect of social media. I want my employer to encourage me to read, attend seminars, engage with industry experts – that is key to providing true value in social media.” – Michael Murray, Washington, DC

– “I want complete support from management…I want the authority to make decisions and implement them. I want IT to have my back when I send them case studies of how it (has) been done before. And I want acceptance from the organization and my co-workers in adopting new processes and robust internal communications to make my job better and easier, as well as theirs.” – Andrea Baker, Washington, DC

In the end, people need to communicate their needs to ears that are willing to listen. If SM folks can justify how the organization will ultimately benefit, and if management is willing to listen, then there is no limit to the amazing things that can be accomplished by driven, empowered (and happy) change makers!

If you have an opinion or an example of what empowerment looks like, leave your comment below!

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Heather Coleman

One aspect that would be nice to be empowered is TIME. And not the “in your spare time” kind of time as though it is a secondary job to your official job. In order to fully learn, understand, practice and manage all of the aspects of social media, it takes time. Real, uninterrupted, dedicated time.

Margaret Lahey

Good point Heather. A lot of people have social media as a side role, and often work for a long time after-hours to really get things done. Sooner or later someone should notice. There are different ways to translate that – perhaps recognizing their outstanding efforts or just making it a bigger part of their day job. The latter, would of course, allow for more dedicated time.