Is your Ring of Fire closer to the Johnny Cash song, or the Solar Eclipse which occurred on Sunday evening? Here in Arizona, we had an amazing look at this infrequent occurrence, and I began thinking, “Ring of Fire, wow that sounds like the world many of the people I know serving in government are living in!”
We’re living in a time where there is an unprecedented level of scrutiny being focused on the role of government, salaries and pensions for public sector employees, and the caliber of elected officials, to name just a few. Now you don’t have to be an astronomer to know you shouldn’t stare at the sun, especially during an eclipse, but it’s so darn fascinating it’s difficult to resist! Same goes for what’s going on with the Ring of Fire surrounding government. First, this will be a prolonged eclipse, so get used to it. The attention applied to government at all levels throughout our nation is in hyper-drive (do people still use that term?) and in a way, that’s good. All of us should take notice more of what’s going on with our communities, regions, state and national issues.
Here in Glendale, Arizona, our city has a $30 million shortfall in next year’s General Fund budget and after having spoken with three of our Councilmembers, they’re exhausted dealing with a situation they estimate should have never occurred. Second, take note, elected officials throughout the U.S. are being extra vigilant about where budget dollars are being spent and questioning even the most ordinary of expenses necessary to operate their organization. Between the media – conventional (i.e. old) and emerging (i.e. new ala bloggers and social media) – rings of fire have been created and continue to burn all around government. What is most distressing to me is how many government leaders – elected and appointed, seasoned veterans from the trenches of democracy with the wounds to show from engaging in a contact sport – are in denial about how best to use social media to counter trends and combat the naysayers in their community. They over-rely on the legal opinions advising them what they can and cannot do, and it turns into a endless-loop of wait and see what the courts say before we proceed.
You don’t have time to wait any longer! Public opinion is being shaped hourly and government leaders are too comfortable standing on the sidelines, whining about how the public just doesn’t understand this, that, and the other.
The Mejorando Group actively works with leaders at all levels helping them accelerate their comfort with the power and purpose behind social media and how to optimize it to strengthen their brand. This approach is way more than simply the role of a traditional Public Information Officer or the Press Office. This is a digital world we live in, and if you’re not out front advocating then you’re behind apologizing. So ponder the Ring of Fire encompassing your world, decide right now what you intend to do to convert the fire into fuel, and let’s continue our journey of getting better all the time.