When the post of Director of Digital Engagement was announced back in February I commented that “I hope the government don’t just appoint some generic boardroom type.” Maybe it would have been more appropriate to say “I hope the government don’t just appoint some generic civil servant type”…which is what Andrew Stott seems to be on first impressions. Five hours after Andrew Stott and his Twitter account are announced on Twitter he posts:
Within those five hours the new Director of Digital Engagement (or one of his minions) failed to follow anyone except his boss, failed to include a photo, and then included a hash tag that few people would have recognised.
Obviously the post is more than just being able to use Twitter, but his first comment nicely illustrates the fact that they were more interested in having a good civil servant than a good social media person.
There aren’t many jobs out there that I covet: Prime Minister, Head of the British Library…that’s about it. Or rather, that was it until the government started advertising for a Director of Digital Engagement (via NevilleHobson). All the excitement of social media with the potential to make a real difference to people’s lives…and the £120,000 starting salary wouldn’t hurt either.
The right-wing have their usual reactionary attitude (via The Telegraph)
Conservative Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said: “Hard pressed families struggling as the recession bites will find it hard to understand how Labour can so freely spend their money on peddling their own propaganda.”
Well Francis, when the ‘recession bites’ it is more important than ever that channels of communication with the government are opened, and [with the exception of myself] you are unlikely to get someone who knows what they are doing for less than £120,000. Maybe the Conservatives would like to take the opportunity to put aside party politics and acknowledge that it is an important role in the future of government.
So, who is your money on as the future Director of Digital Engagement? My money is on Alastair Campbell, recently seen blogging and twittering on a site near you. Whilst I sent him a message on Facebook about an hour ago asking him, he has yet to reply. Other potential candidates? Possibly Charles Leadbeater, but personally I would prefer someone who has their social media feet more firmly on the ground.
Any other suggestions?
[Update 23/02/09: Alastair says 'not a chance'...I hope the government don't just appoint some generic boardroom type]