Wednesday, January 06, 2010

An interesting six months at Innovation Manchester

Back at the beginning of July,just after completing my degree,I embarked on my first position at Innovation Manchester.

It was originally a three month contract,extended to six months and it has certainly been a learning curve.

When I was last in the corporate world,social media was not even a twinkle in the eye,twitter and facebook were not around,linkedin would have brought blank stares and blogging was in its infancy.

The standard for any corporate was to have a website.These were often simply corporate statements and information of the kind you would find in any reception or corporate manual.

How times have changed.Now business believes that social media is the tool to communicate,to brand,to listen and to create.The days of the static website are almost behind us.

Yet the experience of the last six months has taught me a lot.

Firstly you cannot divorce social media from the rest of the organisation.Like the computer manager in days of old,the danger is that it can be segregated into its ivory tower surrounded by an aura of technicalities.

As with any other form of communication,you have to know what your message is.Social media doesn't solve that problem for you,it simply gives you the means to distribute it,target it and get instant reaction back.

Where does it lie with the traditional communications manager and PR? Well I have read many posts predicting the demise of both.Of that I am not quite sure but both professions need to embrace the tools and accept that the goalposts are changing otherwise they will become history.

In fact for social media to work,then all members of the organisation have to embrace it.It has to become the corporate norm.

As for the static website,it will die,maybe sooner rather than later.It no longer serves a purpose and as open source software becomes more and more accessible,then so too will the web designer.

But the most important thing is content and this is what will keep journalism alive.It's a skill developed over time and to drive traffic to your site you need to keep people interested.That is the skill of the journalist,it is not the job of managers.

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