Nigel Lewis, CEO of AbilityNet, has written an article pointing out that while local authorities are keen to increase their use of social media channels like Facebook and Twitter to interact with citizens, there are some common mistakes made that must be rectified. Moreover, he emphasies that children should be taught digital skills like coding so they can better understand how the digital world works.
A common mistake many organisations make is to give junior staff members complete control over social media, assuming that since they are digital natives they will know what to do. However, these channels are powerful and influential and a small mistake can have grave consequences. Hence, people must receive specific training before being given the reins.
Lewis adds that respect for the medium and an appreciation of its power is essential.
According to him: “Poor social media practice is the unavoidable outcome of a skills shortfall and/or a lack of will to embed social media into the marketing mix and treat it with the seriousness and reverence it deserves.”
He is also supportive of a programme called Code Club for after-school classes which hopes to be made available to a quarter of the country’s 10 and 11 year olds by 2014, and according to the programme’s founder Clare Sutcliffe: “We teach kids Physics because our world is ruled by physical laws. The digital age is dominated by computers and so we should teach children how to create the tools and applications that we use everyday.”
“If we don’t do this, we are doing both them and the country a disservice,” concludes Lewis.
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