Getting friendly

The provincial government wants to be your friend/follower. In November 2009, its public affairs bureau quietly launched a new social media/online communications unit. The unit - which was formed using existing resources - has eight staffers including a director, a manager, two visual communications officers and four social media/online communications officers.

17 Comments

I applaud the outreach effort! Now, got any actual social media links for said social media unit? That page lists phone numbers and a PO-box, which is laughably ironic. :)

I'm with Chris, this is all very curious. Hope they know it's beyond time to get in the fight.

It also seems too big of a staff for social media. Especially with the gov't caucus limited throughput and too many MLAs not having their own YouTube page. Heaven knows http://www.YouTube.com/BCLibFan is not enough. Not exactly air superiority I'd count on and something the BCLibs need.

Also hope they're fully transparent in their ops. The Israeli Ministry of Foriegn Affairs is in social media... had great impact in recent Gaza campaign, but I digress.

Only 8 staffers you say?

Heckfire - that means that they are at least two behind the entire province's park ranger contingent.

Clearly, the Provincial Government still does not quite have its priorities quite straight.


.

I echo Ross K's sentiments. The PAB should have been the first wave of cuts to save money. These politicians are paid more than enough to do their own talking and if they can't handle the job then step aside and let someone how can take over.


Chris--here is the list you seek. Short but still existent. http://www.gov.bc.ca/keyinitiatives/stay_connected.html#facebook

Josef--note that the BC Liberal Fan YouTube page is different than that of the BC Public Service. There is an important distinction between the partisan and the public service.

RossK--why is communicating with the public NOT a priority of the public service? I personally think that it is a priority. We can use these social media sites to demand more open and transparent government. Make them really practice what they preach. They say they want two-way dialogue. Ok. Let's make them live up to it.

Crankypants | April 8, 2010 7:58 PM | Reply

I'd just let the BCLib Party and the BCLib fans like me and them hot BCLib MLAs get on w/ the social media fight. Not to mention them lazy riding associations.

Adrianna | April 8, 2010 7:59 PM | Reply

I can asure you that the YouTube page in question is NOT gov't approved neither in America nor Britainnia nor Canada. It's ran by some dude who obviously loves fast jets and loud politics!

They did a great job using Twitter providing up to date info during wildfires and H1N1. This is an important public service no? There is a ton of info on government sites. Who do you think does that?

No one trust this site....they are trying to get gov workers to post their and it ain't gonna happen, because people don't like PAB and their leaders.

Adrianna--

Please demonstrate to me, with metrics, how, precisely, the 200+ folks working for the PAB have, in the past 5 years, communicated with the public openly, transparently, and without obfuscation....If you can convince me that that has, indeed been the case I will be happy to consider your question.

Regardless, all snark aside, the point I was making is that we can find 8 people for questionable initiatives like social networking while we can only provide funds for 10 people to carry out a vital service that has been cut to the bone for no good reason at all.

.

rloblaw--

8 people?

To run a twitter feed and Adrianna's facebook site?

Are you serious?

.

What site Jim?

Public Eye Online?

These overpaid gov't social media sites?

BC Gov't needs to put at least four of these people in the field as park rangers.

I'm sure a Premier Mary Polak would burn these guys up so fast your head would spin.

Let's get out our inner Polak and stay on the attack!

I think this is hilarious. You all want the government to listen to you about the problems that you see:
- shortage of park rangers,
- overspending on x initiative,
- lack of transparency,
- cuts to other programs
and when the public servants try to create a way to talk to you and listen to you. You either a) assume it's politically motivated wastage (which it will be if politicians listen to you and cancel the program) or b) that 8 people using advanced communication tools to communicate with i) 30,000 bureaucrats and ii) 3.x million citizens is way too many.

I bet you can barely manage a community of 100 in your life, try 10000 and get back to us about how it went.

Politicians may suck, but the cream of the public service are here for you, even if they have to fight their political masters to achieve an inch of open transparency, I know they won't give up.

how's the iEHR/PLIS project coming? now there's wastage, but it's mostly in private companies. Your tax dollars are wasted on incompetence. Government incompetence in holding private incompetence to account, and your incompetence in fielding leaders and workers who won't be corrupted by the monopoly of power and taxation. Step up or shut up, and have a nice day!

jazzdude--

Interesting and fair enough.

In theory....

But do you really think that the 'cream' gets to post-up anything of substance that is not vetted, and I would most humbly suggest, as would others, often obfuscated, by the political folks that oversee them?

Regardless, getting back to the numbers....

Perhaps we should ask Mr. Holman how many folks he has doing his digging, running his site, filling his Twitter feed, filming his videos, uploading said videos to his YouTube site, and, finally, which member of his multitude of minions, precisely, takes care of his weekly podcasts?


.

I know people who work in the public service, and from what I hear politicians are mostly absentee landlords, which most of us knew already :-) The decisions on what is moderated/filtered is something I know the public service is dealing with directly at non political levels. It isn't easy, but I trust them to be good people and to do what they can against those who would censor them. Social media is what is breaking this egg wide open. It is causing them to examine how government trusts their workers and how they allow servants to access citizens, without having to check in all the time. If they are successful at growing trust within, maybe they'll be able to reach out to the public better and grow trust with you too.

To the people that think spending resources on communication is a waste, I say they have little substance to add besides whine.

If you really want transparency, you want them to share. Social media is all about sharing, at least based on Facebook's mission. Do you have any idea how many resources are wasted between "ivory towers" because they didn't know they were doing the same thing? Social media is busting the towers and will lead to a more efficient and more wholesome government. It won't fix the politics and it might not put rangers in parks any faster, but it may help show politicians how to lead better. That is, if they ever learn anything. ;-)

Jazzdude91, it's good to hear that provincial government information flow is now being managed without political shaping. Will this new policy continue to spread, providing full transparency of all public business, even that conducted by private companies wholly owned by the public and agencies and associates exempt from present rules of disclosure? Oh wait, the BC Liberals want to tighten those rules further as I recall.

It seems to me that real transparency would allow interested parties to have ready access to contracts, underlying documents, correspondence and background agreements. Secrecy would be uncommon and limited to situations approved by independent officers of the legislature. (Remember the guys suing the province for their failings.)

A government committed to transparency would not wage extended and expensive court fights over years to prevent accountability of officials (Frank Paul's 1998 death), destroy documents and communications about a pending trial, hire a former associate of interested parties as "special" prosecutor (Basi/Virk) or allow prosecutors to sit on files for years without explanation or progress (Reyat, Robinson, Sheremetta etc.)

Sorry if we seem cynical about government using social media to promote sincere and transparent communications. However, there is a little bit of commitment lacking despite the promise long ago to run the most open and accountable government in history. I think something changed between the time of that promise and now. Pretending that is not true is either naive, stupid or dishonest. Go and ask your boss to remember what he said almost 10 years ago.

Holy crap.

"open and transparent"?

"two way dialogue"?

and the best of all "To the people that think spending resources on communication is a waste, I say they have little substance to add besides whine."

Seriously? Put down the blackberry, stop twittering, sign off of facebook and START RESPONDING TO FOI REQUESTS WITHIN THE LEGAL TIME LIMITS IF YOU WANT TO DEMONSTRATE THE BC GOVERNMENTS WILLINGNESS TO BE OPEN AND TRANSPARENT.*

http://www.oipcbc.org/investigations/reports/F08-35580_Calendar_2008_Report_Card%28Feb_2009%29.pdf

Once you've mastered the basics of communication - ie answering a question (or request for information) that's asked of you, then you can get fancy. You're not there yet. Not by a long shot.

*you bet that needed caps. Are you listening yet government of BC?

Sean, it's obvious you hit a chord with the bloated PAB on this thread. Thay are coming out of the woodwork attempting to justify their existence. It's pretty tough to defend the indefensible.

Attention PAB-the taxpayers of BC cannot afford you anymore. It is time for you all to get a real job in the private sector. I'm sure some fast food outlets will overlook your resume and still hire you at minimum wage. Then you may find out how many of those that you try and bs get by. The gravy train will soon be de-railed.

Leave a comment

Copyright © 2004 - Public Eye Mediaworks. Reproductions of any portion of this Website are permitted only with the expressed permission of Public Eye Mediaworks.
Canadian Web Hosting graciously provided by dotcanuck Web Services. Layout and graphics courtesy of Art Department Design.