It’s smart to be alert to the recent marriage between communication and social media.
This is not a shot-gun wedding, the nexus is being built to last. But while the rules of engagement are still being written in many corporations, some have decided to throw caution to the wind.
Surprisingly a lot of the interest in new media is coming from the government, not exactly known for their fast adaptation of anything. Several ministers are on facebook including Conrad Enill, Karen Teshiera and Gary Hunt. Last week in the Newsday, Parliament announced their Twitter presence and some months ago, the Ministry of Health advertised their embrace of facebook and the micro blogging site with a series of newspaper ads.
Smart move? The jury is still out.
While not every new mode of new media communication lends itself to politics, where speed and complexity rarely coexist, I think to its credit, the Ministry has been searching for the right balance between the long and short format means of communication that social media permits.
For instance, on Saturday I learned that the 2nd case of the H1N1 virus had been confirmed in Trinidad from the Ministry’s facebook. The press release was considered and addressed the relevant questions that any journalist or blogger would ask in the short-term.
However, when I decided on Saturday to subscribe to the Ministry’s RSS feeds on Twitter I had a hell of a time finding them on the platform.
The Ministry does not call itself by its official name but by an MOH acronym that is made further obscure by an underscore sign followed by the words TT (MOH_TT). The Ministry’s Twitter account also has no official logo or brand so the first question you ask when you land on the page is: “ Am I in the right space?” What’s even more disconcerting is that while the Ministry has 52 followers, it follows only one, PAHO, which suggests that a fundamental rule of engagement ( speak clearly but listen deeply) is not being followed.
On Saturday, on the Ministry’s facebook account, I urged the administrator to remember that social media is about community, engagement and two-way conversation.
I’ll wait and see what comes out of my recommendation.