It's not often that a piece about networking strikes me as being particularly elegant, informative and very much on a human scale.

I came across a very interesting piece of writing with Joanne Jacobs talking about networking and it does just that. Joanne's ideas are balanced and rich with wisdom.

"Understanding interaction design is crucial to understanding how people how people communicate or facilitate communication. When you change the way people talks to each other: whether people can sit around tables, whether the temperature is right, whether people can drink, whether people eat . . . All of these change the way people communicate!"

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These words resonate with me because I have always maintained that online conversation in the public service means getting the environment right. That's no different to face to face interactions and we ignore the social dimension at our peril.

Unfortunately, this is the very dimension many public service agencies do not get. There needs to be less talk about 'engagement strategies' and more action about getting environment right. And the starting point is authenticity and trust. Not control and fear.


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