Is the ability to use ‘social media’ a ‘digital skill?’ Thoughts on @andih_london’s session at #ukgc15

Thoughts on this session: Digital literacy for senior leaders

I might just as well say it: I don’t code. I use a few human languages and am proud to be able to do that. I have a general understanding of how important good user experiences are, because I like elegant and beautiful things – but most of the more technical subjects at events like UKGovcamp go straight over my head.

In the localgovcamp and ukgovcamp community, ‘social media’ or ‘digital communications’ has always been thrown in with what I understand ‘digital’ to be in the sense of using coding languages to build software, new platforms for doing things, opening up and using open data, etc. (There’s probably a better way of putting this… HELP)

It occurs to me that this is not really helpful and we’d benefit from separating the two in how we talk about them. Because ‘social media’ really is something everyone can do and should, to connect with others. It takes about the same level of digital skills as it takes to use email. Lumping it in with the coding side of innovation means that the barrier to entry for ‘a layperson’ (which is a silly thing to think about but evidently it’s a thing) becomes much bigger.

So, do you think we need to delineate the difference between the two more clearly in how we talk about them?


One response to “Is the ability to use ‘social media’ a ‘digital skill?’ Thoughts on @andih_london’s session at #ukgc15

  1. I believe that you’re right in that the term ‘digital’ is used to cover a number of different drivers, that are not necessarily associated. The term ‘digital by default’ tends to be taken to mean the provision and of digital services, which, for the most part would mean coded web services, but even here it’s not that cut-and-dried, since I would also include the resolution of clients issues via social media comms as part of ‘digital by default’.
    If speakers / communicators in general want to be sure they are not confusing their audience, they need to be more explicit about what they mean when they say ‘digital’ (or use other more prescriptive terms – ‘digital comms’, etc.).

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