Challenges, challenges everywhere. So what do they look like for a local government communications officer? Here's one perspective.
Like a friendly drill sergeant comms2point0 has asked me to drop and give him five challenges I face. Here they are:
One - #FOMO
#FOMO - fear of missing out. On maternity leave until the autumn, the work I'm most going to miss is being involved in commemorating the start of the First World War and celebrating the Tour de France travelling through the district. Personally, I wouldn't miss this time at home for anything. Professionally, I'm disappointed to miss these milestone events. Looking ahead though, there are at least two big challenges on the horizon …
Two - bridging the digital divide
As a rural district, broadband has historically been patchy in South Cambridgeshire. By the end of 2015, the Connecting Cambridgeshire project will see 90% of homes and businesses able to access superfast broadband and nearly 100% have access to basic services.
Better connectivity means easier access to our online services and will hopefully boost two-way communication via social media and other channels. That's a challenge for the whole council, requiring services to evolve while still keeping lines open for those who remain on the non-digital riverbank - either through choice or due to remote location.
Three - hyperlocal television
Like any new comms channel, hyperlocal television will present challenges and opportunities for local councils. Due to launch in the wider Cambridge area in late 2014/early 2015, building a relationship with the new broadcaster will be exciting. For those of us in areas covered by second and later tranches, we'll hopefully be able to learn lessons about successes and potential pitfalls from colleagues in initial roll-out locations.
Four - letting bum-notes into the choir
Social media filtering means that it's very easy to only follow, hear and listen to people with the same views and ideas as you. Adding a few dissenters to the ranks challenges my thinking and helps me consider different points of view. Although sometimes utterly discombobulating, it can also be thought-provoking and, occasionally, quite entertaining.
Five - make time for blogging
Blogging regularly is a good habit to get into. The more you do it, the easier it gets and it's a cracking skill to have, but you have to consciously make the time to post. #weeklyblogclub is a group of blogs about anything and everything, encouraging people (especially in the public and third sector) to write. Taking part is a fantastic nudge to blog at least once a week. I'm heading back to the weekly fold, why not come and join us?
Kelly Quigley-Hicks is a Communications Officer at South Cambridgeshire District Council.