Jay Socol, Government Social Media Council Representative
By now, most of us have transitioned from telling our communities how to stay safe and indoors to telling them how to incrementally resume normal activities.
The same scared, angry, and sometimes irrational voices we came to know a couple of months ago are back, now reacting just as strongly to this next wave of messaging.
Since the start of this pandemic, I've watched so many of you in our Government Social Media family deal with oppressive circumstances and schedules in the most professional, creative and graceful ways — and at the expense of your own well-being. It's beyond inspiring.
I want to share just one tiny example in my own backyard of why the socialgov group matters right now.
College Station (home of currently empty Texas A&M University) and Bryan, Texas are twin cities: We share borders, history and even friendly rivalries. Like your world, ours has been affected in countless ways by COVID-19. Rather than each city releasing information without regard to its neighbor, GSM superstars Kristen Waggener (Bryan) and Lacey Lively (College Station) have very quietly coordinated and choreographed releasing mirrored messaging on social media platforms, special web pages and PEG channels.
Why does this matter?
Our two cities are very much seen as one community, yet are constantly compared in every possible way. Historically, we've exacerbated things by one city pushing out a message that forces the other city to quickly react to it. At a minimum, it’s clunky for anyone on the receiving end of staggered info releases and subsequent news coverage.
During this entire crisis, Kristen and Lacey have ensured our cities speak with one voice — releasing content at the same time and offering much-needed consistency at moments when it's hard to know whose directives are the right ones. Our collective citizenry and newsrooms — city management and city councils, too — don't even know it's happening, but it is. And, it's making a huge difference.
Working collaboratively with peers during a crisis isn't a new idea. But the level of collaborative planning and social coordination, especially, between these two colleagues and friends is a tangible example of how members of Government Social Media are here for one another.
I don’t know that any of us yet see an end to these difficult, unpredictable days and weeks, which is why it's more important than ever to reach out to others in this profession and organization to partner, encourage and even console one another.
I’m ready for that. Are you?