Oh let me in: social media and policy development

Painting by Bella Opacic

Lively discussion at recent Hansard Society event (11.09.12) around whether social media could be effectively used to develop public policy. General feel was yes – but be careful. A distinguished panel shared some of their thoughts:

  • One fit doesn’t fit all: think about both the audience you want to reach and the output you want (Nick Jones).
  • Twitter has huge potential as a policy making tool. A simple thing you can do is set up issues and link to information so people have time to think (Deborah Mattinson).
  • You can easily source, promote and communicate with twitter. But you need to learn to talk in that space. There’s lots of social media fora that can help (Rory Cellan-Jones).
  • Trust is key. People will disconnect as soon as trust is abused (Nick Pickles).
  • Twitter gives us an emotional connection as human beings (Kevin Brennan MP).

What’s your hunch? Is social media going to help us develop public policy in the future or is it puff? Please do leave a comment and follow me on twitter @businesses4good.

 

 

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Can you see me?

Painting by Bella Opacic

Be honest. Hand on heart. Would you feel confident getting in contact with a government minister about a local issue? If the answer’s no, and you’d like a bite-size bit of advice, here’s six steps to help you build your confidence.

Step 1: Believe it’s possible. Having a can-do mind-set goes a long way.

Step 2: Do your research. Who’s got responsibility over the issue in government? Who has it as a constituency challenge or a personal interest?

Step 3: Be clear about your issue and your solution. Think it through carefully and collect your evidence (stories and statistics that show you’ve made a difference to people’s lives).

Step 4: Create a perfect pitch. Following the “Six Ps” for pitching will help.

  • Position yourself: who are you?
  • Identify the problem.
  • Project forward into the future (what’s the wider impact?).
  • What’s your proposal to solve this problem?
  • What proof do you have to back this up?
  • What project are you currently working on?

Step 5: Gain access through you local MP, one of the minister’s special advisers or through someone you know who knows them.

Step 6:  Persevere . . . Dream the dream . . . But don’t put all your dreams in one basket.

If you have any tips you’d like to share on this topic then please do add a comment or get in contact. I’d love to hear from you. Please follow me on Twitter @businesses4good.

Parliament essentials/1: Free guides on how parliament works

Painting by Bella Opacic

Getting to grips with how parliament works can be a bit bewildering even to the most hardened UK public affairs professional. But there’s free help at hand with the House of Commons Information Office guides. These cover:

• what parliament does
• how it makes laws
• how it debates its business and much more.

Knowing how parliament works puts you in a better position to engage and influence and make change happen.

Quick tip: If you have a parliamentary query you can get free advice from the House of Commons Information Office on 020 7219 4272.

If you’d like some help on a specific public affairs issue – whether it’s policy, campaigning or lobbying – then why not contact me on 07966 369579. Please do leave a comment if you found this public affairs blog of interest.