The tide of social media cannot be turned. To quote Socitm, a professional organisation representing ICT managers in local government, "Failure to engage with the trend is tantamount to decrying the telephone at the end of the 19th century". Social media is here, and here to stay. Web 2.0 tools - such as Twitter, Facebook and Flickr - that make up the social media portfolio are not only providing better ways for people to be 'social', and communicate more effectively, but are also improving the potential productivity and cost-efficiency of organisations and their employees.
As well as offering networking and peer support, professional development, and access to research and consultancy on a wide range of policy and technology issues, Socitm concerns itself with the topical, but somewhat contentious, issue of blocking and restriction of access to social media websites by local authorities and other public sector organisations. Promotion of the use of social media tools, by actively encouraging ICT and related professionals to embrace them, is one of Socitm's priorities.
The Socitm website, branded as 'information, innovation and improvement', supports the implementation of the organisation's agenda of improving public services through technology. The Insight programme is a subscription service that identifies and promotes best practice in ICT management in the public sector. Socitm Insight produces reports that are aimed at ICT managers, e-champions and senior managers in local authorities and other public services.
A recent report in this series - Social Media: why ICT management should lead organisations to embrace it - highlights the role of social media in service delivery and citizen engagement. While security risks are real, they are manageable, and increased bandwidth should be seen as part of the cost of modern ways of working (which may in fact deliver cost savings).
Visit the website: Socitm