4 thoughts on “What I’m talking about when I’m talking about digital engagement”

  1. Good piece, Dave. A couple of observations from my experience in local gov and the voluntary sector, if I may.

    I agree with you about the stages of any proper approach to digital engagement, but I think it would be wise not unwittingly to give the impression that these stages are completely sequential. My experience is that they are inevitably not, and often without serious problem.

    Many organisations or teams’ first experience of social media will come from someone having a good dabble, often quite unofficially. This will inevitably inform both training and strategy development, though it will, of course, almost always precede anything called policy, except maybe in very large organisations. It’s my experience that organisations tend then to move towards some kind of training, bought in, or in-house, on the general basis that “if we’re going to do this, we may as well learn to do it properly”.

    Awareness that this new way of envisaging and carrying out business actually needs to be guided by some form of strategy, and regulated by a policy, will either be recognised in training, or become an inevitable course to avoid mayhem or a free for all. I think it is rare for an organisation to sit down and draft a social media strategy before any other stages have begun.

    Some organisations struggle to understand the difference between a social media strategy and a social media policy. I think it is common, therefore,for the development of a policy to come along quite late on in an organisation’s initial experiences of social media. The best policy will usually be informed by first-hand experience, including experience of getting it wrong.

    I’m generalising as much, if not more than you, of course, but I think it’s important to recognise that the stages you identify are not sequential.

    Rock on.


    • Hi Tom

      Those final bullet points aren’t intended as a sequence – rather all the bits that need to be in place from the get-go. I’ll elaborate on the ideal setup – to my mind – in a future post.

      The points you make though are really helpful though – thanks for contributing!

      • Dave,

        My comments weren’t really aimed at the final bullet points but at how the piece came across to me overall, and your comment mid way through that “the first is strategy”. An ideal perhaps, but I wanted to point out that it’s one I think is seldom achieved.

        I look forward to that future post.


  2. Enjoyed the post.

    I think “Digital Engagement” in the context being discussed here, is best looked at as a capability (or core competency), that an organisation needs to establish within it’s organisation’s ‘DNA’. In the same way as other new capabilities, such as collaboration and data literacy.

    It’s then a case of thinking about what this is made up of and how this capability is built, or evolved, over time – strategies, rules (design principles), processes, technology, people (skills, behaviours, etc).

    As you say, “organisations need to take a step back”. And in terms of all this happening after a bit of ‘play’, all well and good. This should be part of the organisation’s DNA as well!

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