An unpredictable world presents challenges to communicators and communities alike to maintain shared values and common direction.
Nicole Matejic, internationally recognised social media strategist, military information operations adviser and social cohesion expert and colleague Claire Reynolds from Info Ops HQ are coming to Melbourne on 9 November to host a workshop for communicators on fostering community resilience and social cohesion. We put a few questions on these themes to Nicole ahead of the workshop:
Community resilience is an interesting concept. What led you to create a workshop program focussing on social cohesion and resilience?
One of Australia’s best attributes is its multicultural society. Australians have a well-developed sense of resilience around acute shocks such as bushfires and floods, and we also share a strong sense of social cohesion around traditional challenges like unemployment, climate change and family violence.
In recent times, though, extremist events both here and overseas have challenged our sense of peace and security. From cyber-attacks to terrorism, cultural and racially incited violence – I speak at conferences regularly about building social cohesion and over the past few months I’ve been approached by various organisations to run a workshop to teach others how they can build social cohesion and resilience within their own communities.
What are the keys to ensuring notions like resilience and social cohesion become practical strategies for organisations to foster rather than esoteric concepts?
Firstly, communicators need to recognise these concepts aren’t new: organisations already have in place resilience and social cohesion strategies for their communities that cover traditional risks like heatwaves, power outages, floods and bushfires.
Secondly, communicators need to be timely in the way we approach planning for community resilience and social cohesion when faced with new societal risks such as cyber-attacks, politically and religiously motivated violence. These newer risks, paired with the democratisation of information, present challenges not only for Australians broadly but also for specific members of our society.
Are there examples of where these sorts of strategies have made tangible differences to communities?
There are many examples around the world where great communications strategies have delivered positive results within their communities and target publics.
For example, during the Ebola crisis the BBC used these strategies to communicate vitally important health information to those most affected. Presented with literacy, connectivity and cultural challenges, the BBC effectively communicated the information needed to maintain resilience and social cohesion during a pandemic crisis.
Offer: Exclusive IABC Victoria Member only Offer – save $125
As a special offer to IABC Victoria members, you can now register for the Info Ops HQ Workshop – Building Social Cohesion and Resilience via Social Media, on 9 November 2016, and save $125 on the full workshop cost.
Register to attend and when directed, enter the promo code: IABCVIC