https://beisdigital.blog.gov.uk/2014/12/12/buddying-up-to-listen-online/

Buddying up to listen online

Liz has blogged before about our new digital buddy network. It’s a little less new since that post: we've got 30 people around the department to enthuse and help others wishing to take their first digital steps.

Digital Buddies logo

They're on hand for nearby colleagues at those times when we in the digital team just can't be.

You'll hear from the buddies themselves in blog posts to come, but I can now say that it's great to see them having an impact - for example offering digital one to ones for their teams, and encouraging others to take what can be the first scary step online.

We're also interested in helping the buddies share and develop their own skills and thought getting them involved in our Autumn Statement activity was an ideal opportunity.  This year, BIS year saw significant announcements on science, skills, postgrad loans, business rates and more.  And while those would naturally be covered in our overall analysis and reporting, it’s also a good way to do some digital embedding in the process.

We set up an opportunity for the buddies to get involved - and shape what we fed back to our strategy team and policy colleagues.  I posted on the dedicated Yammer group asking for volunteers, and backed that up with emails. Three of our buddies helped out on the day, and I witnessed some great synergy as the buddies feeding back their insights and the results of their listening to their own directorates.

The objectives of getting the buddies involved are to:

  • give colleagues an idea of what they were missing from not listening to online conversations beyond the usual suspects
  • let those colleagues see that listening and monitoring online conversations are a legitimate part of the day job
  • enable the buddies themselves to build their skills beyond engagement, and gain some insight into new tools they can use

We met each of those objectives to varying degrees, and from my own perspective, it was an eye opener to realise that some of what I take for granted in my own listening isn’t immediately obvious – for example, listening beyond the usual groups.  And for myself, I finally realised that I’ve got much more uses for “If this then that” than I’d ever dreamed of!

We'll definitely take this route again, but give more notice so that even more people have the time to get the day in their calendars; and of course we'll blog about how it goes!

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