Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Integrating online media into a persistent channel

There's been a lot of 'bitsa' initiatives in Australia around the online channel as both the private and public sector come to terms with the new online options to support communication, collaboration, consultation and engagement.

However it's been rare to see effective integrated use of online channels in a co-ordinated fashion to support ongoing initiatives.

I'm not quite sure why this is so - perhaps the newness of the channels and relative inexperience of local online practitioners, the process of piloting new approaches in organisations (one step at a time) or the need to overcome resistance and achieve buy-in across various groups and management levels.

I think this change in thinking is just beginning to take root. Rather than simply posting a video, creating a short-term blog or taking steps into online conversations through forums, I am seeing more initiatives making use of a diverse set of online tools in a more consistently integrated fashion.

I have been doing a lot of thinking around how to implement an integrated department or agency level online channel, integrating various tools from blogs, forums, wikis, video and podcasts through to idea markets, social networks, virtual worlds and micro-blogs (plus new media as they become available and grow in usage - such as mobile platforms).

The aim is to create an ongoing conversational channel with citizens and stakeholders rather than a short-term promotional 'flash-in-the-pan'. This would become an established engagement channel for an agency, facilitating long-lasting customer relationships.

This channel would sit alongside and support existing channels such as face-to-face, other media avenues and various stakeholder and citizen groups to enable an agency or department to research, test, review and deliver initiatives and campaigns while receiving constant intelligence from the public to help it understand and maintain appropriate alignment with community values and needs.

This is the 'end-game', so to speak, that I've been interested in achieving since joining the public sector - making government agencies more accessible and responsive to the community they serve while ensuring appropriate transparency and accountability is maintained.

I'm interested in chatting with anyone who has been thinking in a similar vein, or has implemented such a system. Please drop me a line.

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