Brussels bubble digital folks: beware the way of the webmaster

“Digital” has now fully entered the mainstream of EU policy advocacy which is a blessing (because progress) but partly a curse because digital is most often defined by its lowest common denominator (most easily understood) component: social media.

Many organisations realise they need “digital” which to them means they need to hire someone with digital in her/his title to run their social feeds, which means that community management and social content creation are often the beginning and the end of that job description.

And that can absolutely be a great job to have – but the risk is that your organisations are walking you right over to a safe little silo where you can write your tweets, make your boomerangs and report back that you are 0.5% above the industry standard engagement rate.

And in that silo you’ll find yourself, as ever, distanced from what your organisation considers the real strategic work. They’ve basically put you at the kids table.

The marketing world (which we tend to follow with about a 5-year delay) has gone through this exercise, with community managers either wising up or organisations absorbing that function into a broader communications effort as they integrate digital more holistically.

If you work in Brussels, chances are you are more of a communications generalist with an interest in understanding social but above all have a commitment to strategies that make good on objectives – regardless of which tools you use to get there. It’s a battle to position yourself as such, but ultimately that’s what your org needs, and with the right leadership that is what your organisation will invest in.

With the knowledge that the role of webmaster faded away, let’s make sure we recognise the beauty and limitations of “digital something or other” and build something for ourselves that endures.

  • Brett Kobie

    Brett heads up digital, social & creative strategy for FleishmanHillard’s European Union office in Brussels, which works across sectors to combine deep policy expertise with innovative, creative communications. A seasoned transatlantic public affairs professional and strategic digital communicator, Brett has split the last 15 years...

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