Friday, May 16, 2014

The latest video communicating social media policy to public servants - Social Media Man

The Queensland Government recently introduced a new approach to communicate departmental social media policy to staff, a light and humorous video featuring 'Social Media Man'.

It's the latest in a line of video-based tools used to communicate social media policy to public servants in Australia, following some great work from Victoria.

The first, in March 2011, was the Victorian Department of Justice's Social Media Policy.

This video (embedded below) took a solid and dependable approach, providing a top-level view of the Department's (then new) Social Media Policy.

This video became the 'go-to' standard for government agencies across the country and was seen globally as an effective example of how agencies could leverage social channels and particularly video to better communicate with their own staff.

The video has been adapted and reused by a number of agencies and councils around the country, including the federal Department of Human Services.

(My company, Delib Australia, has the code for the video and has repurposed and redeveloped it for councils. We'd be happy to do this for you too.)

After several years of hiatus, the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) took the bar higher earlier this year with the release in April of their Social Media Policy video.

Using a cartoon-drawing style, this video supported the release of the DPC's social media policy, which is also available on their website at

The latest entrant in the mix, hot on the heels of Victoria's DPC, is the Queensland Government's 'Social Media Man'.

A mild-manner public servant otherwise known as 'Garry', Social Media Man gives staff at DNRM, DTESB, DAFF & DEWS an overview of their obligations under their social media policy.

The video is available at Youtube:

Note this may not be publicly visible for long, given that Queensland government has chosen to prevent embedding or sharing by other sites (as evidenced by broken links from Business Insider and Mumbrella).

This is a real shame as it is, in my view, a great approach - balancing humour with a clear message.

UPDATE 1 Sept 2014: the video is now embeddable, so you can view it below.

It is my view that public sector social media policies should be public. This helps send a clear message to the community that they can trust the public service to act appropriately and not politically on social channels, building trust and respect.

There's also the consideration that governments, such as Queensland, have adopted Creative Commons as a standard licensing approach - so appropriate sharing of this type of material should not be prevented.

In lieu of being able to embed the video, here's stills of Social Media Man in action.

It will be interesting to see which governments in Australia can take this further - potentially even stepping beyond the use of videos to promote social media policy to promote other OH&S and security policies within agencies. There's a lot of scope for video that's not yet been realised.

Finally I think it is worth noting that the Queensland public service, per this video, is told to not criticise their own policy areas or department, but can engage more broadly in political expression regarding other government policies - that's currently denied Australian Public Servants by the Australian Public Service Commission's guidelines on social media use.

In my view Queensland has got their social media guidance right.

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