New rules of engagement: social media and governance

Governments must embrace social media and use it to engage with the public in what Melbourne Law School alumna and experienced company director Dr Nora Scheinkestel believes are disruptive times in which to govern.

Dr Nora Scheinkestel

Speaking at the June MLS Alumni Seminar, Dr Scheinkestel said there was no question that social media had changed the landscape for government.

"There has been a change in the speed of dissemination of information. There are no secrets anymore," she said.

Dr Scheinkestel believes the digital focus must also extend to the corporate world.

"Customers, suppliers and competitors are on social media. Organisations need to monitor and expose themselves to it, and participate. But if you are going to participate, you need to do it well."

Having worked in the public, government and private sectors, Dr Scheinkestel believes all three spheres were undergoing a period of enormous change.

She said this had caused a dynamic shift to existing power structures, and disruption to business models and markets.

"It is not that the rules have changed or the underlying policy principles have changed…so many assumptions that underpin our decisions, we just accept them, even though they are just assumptions," she said.

"There has (also) been a fundamental change in leadership. Authority no longer comes from a position or status. People will only follow people who are authentic and hold similar values to their own."

Dr Scheinkestel, also an Associate Professor at the Melbourne Business School, proffered professional advice to consider no matter which sector one worked in.

"Wisdom is acting on what we do know but having a constant awareness of what we don't know," she said.

"Be curious, be agile, be courageous, and speak out."

Visit the Alumni Seminar series website for more information on upcoming events.

By Andy Walsh