5 top tactics you can use today to stop your Public Sector organisation using social media

Guest post by Tony Winston – Senior Programme and Risk Management consultant at Inovatieum Plc.

“The invidious creep of social media into the workplace brings a frightening minefield of trouble as well as a huge waste of time and money. “

Here are 5 tactics you can use to keep social media projects out of your organisation.

#1 “It’s risky”

The trick here is to focus on security, confidentiality and data jurisdiction.  Talk for a long time and make sure you say the words ‘data governance’ at least 7 times. In my experience using risk as a tactic to block social media projects never fails.  It’s almost impossible to mount a sensible counter-argument.  If you get resistance then just repeat the words ‘it won’t be GCSx compliant’ over and over. They will get bored and most likely give up.

If you have frightening examples of how social media has been abused then use them freely. As a final flourish give an example of how a Director got sacked because of Twitter. This will have them quaking in their boots and the social media project will either be a) cancelled or b) have to go through extensive risk analysis (which amounts to the same thing)

#2 Give it to ICT team to run (find a patsy)

ICT teams hate social media. If you want to kill a social media project stone dead then the easiest way to bury it quickly is to give it to your IT manager to run.  This has the added advantage that you won’t get the blame for the project’s inevitable failure.

#3 “Your staff will spend all day wasting their time on Facebook and Twitter”

Use statistics to really drive home your point here.  If you can’t get your hands on good statistics then make them up – nobody will ever check them. Here’s one I keep in my back pocket (feel free to use).

“Research shows that staff in 1 Local Authority spent 18% of their day on social media websites. This equated to £35 million in lost time!”

As my Grandad wisely said “if you are going to lie, then lie big!”

#4 Our brand will be ruined!

I have seen this tactic used very effectively in my local Police force where they banned anyone re-using crime information because it wasn’t on their branded PDF’s. This might sound a bit stupid but nevertheless is a worthwhile tactic to use in certain circumstances.  Public Sector organisations spend loads of money on branding and the last thing they want to see is information being distributed amongst the public without their branding on it. Dumb but effective.

#5 Give the social media project to your incumbent software supplier

Proper software suppliers like mine have extensive project management methodologies.  We build large systems that are expensive to implement and even more expensive to replace. By giving us the project you will ensure that nothing will be delivered for at least 20 months, by which time the world will have moved on and all your money will be spent.

Those are my tactics to prevent social media being used in your organisation. What are yours?

Tony Winston