Hanging out in Melbourneo with other word nerds

Attending the 3rd Australian Aid Communicators Conference in Melbourne was a delight. When I say ‘other word nerds’ that roughly means a room full of inspiring, passionate, informed and switched-on aid and development communicators from across this sunburnt land in a slightly wet but beautiful town.*

Over our fair trade coffees and delicious multicultural vegetarian snacks we bemoaned the public’s apathy and sluggish response to Pakistan, found out who was working where these days and shared common tales of staff shortages.  There was also some good news for the sector, the old campaign strategies still ring true: be honest, stay on message and be persistent.  The (not so) ‘new’ media tools are pretty much all free and user-friendly. Have a play and see what you can do, there are no rules. Creating a social media campaign is like any other campaign. You need clear strategy and framework, something along the lines of –

People – Assess your audience social activities
Objectives – Decide on what you want to accomplish
Strategy – How will you satisfy your objectives
Tactics/Technology – Decide which social technologies to use (note how technology is last)

It’s not the first time that the Social Media POST Framework and I have shared the same space, I too have stood in front of a room of eager communicators with the trusty POST on my PowerPoint slide (I didn’t use the rather sexy prezi.com, that’s quite the discovery). 

And we have our work cut out for us. The development sector doesn’t have the best public image. From cries of “you spend too much on advertising,” “it never reaches the people,” “what about our own problems in Australia,” “our money will end up in Taliban hands,” the list goes on … it is up to us to do a better job at explaining how aid works. And aid does work.

Want more development rants comin at ya? Follow the UNDPI Global Health Conference on twitter #AchieveMDGs – @sarfos is doing some darn fine tweetin’ from the Conference.

*If I could make babies with a city, it would be Melbourne.

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