History teaches us many things. Not least how we have responded in times of crisis.
"The Lincoln continues to slow down. Its interior is a place of horror. The last bullet has torn through John Kennedy's cerebellum, the lower part of his brain.
"...at first there is no blood. And then, in the very next instant there is nothing but blood...Gobs of blood as thick as a man's hand are soaking the floor of the back seat..."
I recently read The Death of a President, William Manchester's brilliant unflinching account of the events leading up to and the aftermath of the assassination of John F Kennedy in November 1963.
You can see the Wikipedia entry about the book here.
Everything is in here, from the paintings on the wall of the hotel room where Kennedy spent his last night alive to the layout of the emergency room the president lay in at Parkland Memorial Hospital as doctors tried vainly to save his life.
New research has been published by Govdelivery that looks to pin-down the Holy Grail of digital communications. The question of how much followers, subscribers and likes is worth.
By Dan Slee
A while back I helped with some comms planning for a web project that aimed to link members of the community with groups and clubs in their area.
There were more than half a dozen around the table. On the face of it, I quietly reflected that this was worthy but what was the point?
My misgivings were answered by a bright community worker. He told the story of a hypothetical man aged 66 who had just lost his wife. He may start drinking. He may start getting ill and see his GP. He may start being a nuisance to neighbours and the housing authority and police may get involved. All of this costs the taxpayer spiralling amounts of money. Suddenly, the project came alive. We could attach a financial value to the benefit it brought.
Know your stuff. Know who covers your patch then get to know them. It's an approach that's as old as the hills but one that continues to bear fruit if done with skill.
It’s interesting to view how much the economic pendulum has swung since the global recession of 2009.
Back then a large part of the media’s agenda was sewn up with the big boys, the car producers, aerospace giants and the financial powerhouses would regularly adorn the pages of the nationals and the airtime of our major broadcasters.
Stories from SMEs - small, medium enterprises - did get covered, don’t get me wrong. However, more often than not they were neatly packaged away in their own special enterprise section and very rarely did they make it into mainstream news.
Back in the day the 24-hour Twitter event was groundbreaking. But have they moved on? And what do they need to do?
by Dan Slee
I’ve been thinking for a while that 24-hour Twitter events have driven up a bit of a cul-de-sac.
You know the sort of thing. An organisation tweets what it is doing for 24-hours and shines a light on unsung heroes. You learn things you didn’t know and then the timeline moves on.
Back in 2011, I was part of an award-winning team at Walsall Council that ran this first one in local government called #walsall24. We encouraged teams from across the council from 6am to join in. There was a countryside ranger talking about what she was doing, scheduled road repairs and events at libraries.
You may have heard, there's an election on. Since we're into the closing stages, comms2point0's resident political nerd Will Mapplebeck does some myth-busting and fact-finding about the big day.
by GUEST EDITOR Will Mapplebeck
What are we likely to wake up with on 8th of May?
It's probably coalition time again, but this time it may take more than two to tango. Labour and Conservatives may get between 270 and 290 seats each so it's likely to take a number of parties to get over the magic mark of around 326 which gives you a majority even though, in practice, you'll probably need fewer seats to function as a Government. Remember, just because if either Conservative or Labour get the largest number of seats, that doesn't necessarily mean that they will go on to form a Government.
I was hugely privileged to be able to chair and facilitate #MENAcomms14 with Dan Slee recently, on behalf of the Foreign Office, having been approached to get involved in their annual get-together of Middle East and North African comms and digital people.
The event, which took place in beautiful Amman, was a real eye-opener - stimulating and fascinating in equal measure
I left MENAcomms14 with huge respect for our Foreign and Commonwealth Office colleagues for the work they deliver and the manner in which they tackle some of the biggest issues on the planet.
Who is your PR hero? For one comms person who has left the industry to return to journalism its the unlikely face of a supporting character from a BBC satire.
When you think of The Thick Of It, Armando Iannucci’s peerless satire of a Government department, it’s nigh on impossible to get away from the character of Malcolm Tucker.
Played superbly by Peter Capaldi, Tucker is the Prime Minister’s Director of Communications or, in reality, his henchman. A vicious enforcer who spits, snarls and terrifies ministers, officers and the media through four series and three specials.
The World cup may have kicked off this week but all the talk in Manchester was about communications at the inaugural Public Sector Communications Academy.
I’m a little biased, but I thought that this was the best Academy I’ve attended and the collaboration with central government added a welcome extra dot-joining and learning dimension.
For many communications pros it is becoming harder and harder to get to events like this one. But I believe that it’s never been more important to continue to learn, to expand and to share.
That’s what’s so great about Government Director of Communications, Alex Aiken’s drive to invest in government comms people and their development – it is setting a tone and direction which other parts of the public sector can point to in their own organisational fights for investment in up-skilling.
Opening up to use social media can be tricky. Not least if you are the Ministry of Defence. Which is why this case study shows how one department of the MOD adopting social can lead to some unintended benefits.
by Tony Moran
With social media now so much a part of our everyday lives, it’s easy to forget what life was like without it.
Driving rain and storms have battered Britain - but how have the emergency services coped in communicating the warnings?
by Dan Slee
If ever you needed proof that sharing out access to social media was a bright idea take a look at the January storms that struck Britain.
High winds, 30-foot waves and flood warnings struck across the country.
How can you seek to influence debate on a national level? A campaign by the Local Government Assoiciation has done just that at a time when cuts totalling 43 per cent will be coming down the track. Through a video and other collatoral the phrase 'rewiring' has entered the vocabulary.
For those working in the public sector, funding has been the dominant issue for the last few years and for local government this has been more acutely felt than most. By the end of this parliament local government will have seen cuts totalling 43 per cent.
Every year hundreds of communicators gather in Brussels to listen, talk and share ideas. This year comms2point0 social reported from the event with a rolling Twitter, pictures and a storify to capture all the tweets.
by Dan Slee
So, there you go. Day one of Europcom and we end up trending in Belgium. Just goes to show that just talking about communications things can be popular.
With the pace of change ever faster there has never been a greater imperative to learn. Resaercher and blogger Liz Azyan has spent more than five years at first hand mapping those changes. She talks here about her second white paper on the subject. This time for Govdelivery and LGEO Research.
by Liz Azyan
A few years ago I wrote a white paper on digital communications in government. I received useful feedback and also insight into the world of governments everywhere on how they were embracing change that was happening in the digital landscape.
However, the landscape of government communications is still changing, especially within the digital space. And its not just the landscape, it US - as people, as individuals, have changed.
There's a repository of case studies you may have come across. It's useful if you are starting out or a hardened geek with a range of links that you'll find helpful.
by Dan Slee
One of the great things about the web is the amount of good case studies shared.
One of the worst things about the web is that it's so hard to find them.
Step forward the Digital Engagement Guide which aims to be a veritable storehouse of good examples across government and local government. Much of it is transferrable to the private sector too.
A quick disclaimer I submitted a handful of examples to Steph Gray of Helpful Technology when the idea was first mooted. Since then the site has grown into a rich seam of content. The idea is simple. A screenshot. A link, some tags to help you search and a brief summary all grouped under headers. Brilliant.
Civil servant Ann Kempster cuts to the heart of a dilemma. Should we keep traditional comms and digital comms separate? Or united? You can also read the original - and the comments - here
By Ann Kempster
I attended a fab off-grid get-together this afternoon of a mix of digital and press folk in government today. I was very honoured to have been included.
We looked at what is working well, what isn’t and what the perfect future might look like. A lot of interesting discussions and models for the future. Really got my brain buzzing on a Friday afternoon….