We've always liked the cut of the jib of those folks down in Norfolk. And this post and idea sums them up nicely.
by GUEST EDITOR Susie Lockwood
It’s crucial to lead on things sometimes; come up with new ideas, be brave, be innovative, make stuff happen. But leaders don’t get very far without followers, people who can recognise a good idea when they see one and can make it happen much more effectively.
So it follows (sorry, couldn’t resist) that it’s important to follow as well as lead, support as well as take the starring role.
As is so often the case, it was Twitter that got me thinking along these lines. Some of you may know that Saturday was Call Everyone Dave Day, held in honour of actor Roger Lloyd-Pack who died last month of pancreatic cancer and whose 70th birthday it would have been on 8th February.
Roger was best known and held in great affection for playing the hapless Trigger in sitcom Only Fools and Horses in which he persistently and mistakenly called Rodney Trotter ‘Dave’.
Roger Lloyd-Pack had a house in Norfolk and spent a lot of time here, and was very supportive of local initiatives, particularly relating to the arts. So Call Everyone Dave Day was always going to have a lot of resonance locally. The local media had promoted it and on Saturday a number of local residents and businesses were busy calling each other and themselves Dave and encouraging others to do the same, all in the name of raising awareness of – and money for research into – pancreatic cancer.
So for one day only Norfolk County Council’s Twitter account was reborn as Dave – we changed our name as it appears in our profile (not our Twitter ‘handle’) and tweeted to draw people’s attention to it and explain why. It was a small gesture, it wasn’t groundbreaking, but it showed our support for a campaign that mattered to many local residents and one that was trying to do good and make a difference. It was fun, and showed we don’t take ourselves too seriously, but it was far from frivolous. And it showed that we know the value of following, listening and supporting just as much as all those verbs more normally associated with councils – leading, telling and, yes, by their detractors, distancing.
The reaction to the council becoming Dave for the day wasn’t huge by any means but it was entirely positive. Ten retweets, four favourites, some nice Dave-related interactions and a really lovely tweet from a local resident in recognition of our support.
More importantly, let’s hope our support helped Call Everyone Dave Day achieve its aims. On JustGiving.com the campaign had raised more than £4,000 for Pancreatic Cancer UK by Sunday night. In terms of reach we’re not in the league of Norfolk’s own Stephen Fry (lord love ‘im) but our followers have recently topped 14,000 so we can get information out pretty effectively.
So Call Everyone Dave Day made me think that councils and other public sector organisations can do just as much good by playing a supportive role on social media as they can in a lead role. By listening and reacting they can become imbedded in online communities and make them stronger, they can recognise and promote efforts to improve lives and achieve shared goals, and in doing this, they can bank serious goodwill that means when they could really do with support, it’s much more likely to be reciprocated.
You know it makes sense, Dave.
Susie Lockwood is media officer at Norfolk County Council
pic via Susie Lockwood