A big list of social media tools

A lawyers' guide to social media

An in-depth look at Twitter

Beginner's guide to social media advertising

8 essential social media tools

23 tools to create images for social media

Social resharing strategies

A day in the life of a social media manager

The perfect Facebook page

71 ways to write a social media update

Guide to Twitter cards

30 little-known features of popular social media sites

10 cool tools

59 free twitter tools

The internet in real time

Social media policy - A big list

61 best social media tools for small business

Digital engagement cookbook

Why presentations suck

How a comms team could look in 2014

CIPR guide to social media monitoring

10 reasons why councils should embrace Facebook

7 creative Twitter campaigns

Google analytics quick guide

11 tips for more effective online surveys

10 skills the PR pro of 2022 must have

What does it mean to be human in social media?

Digital content standards guide

how to do twitter

twitter sizes and dimensions cheat sheet

50 top tools for social media monitoring

Introducing Yammer to your org

10 reasons to quit your job in 2013

105 Twitter apps for comms people

18 free tools for pr and comms people

the public leader's dilemma: how to become a social organisation

the 3 w's of twitter

social media infographic flowchart

creating digital content for comms

social media integration survey results

28 brilliant social media resources from the University of Warwick

the public are much more reasonable than the media

glasto for geeks

the next web of open, linked data (youtube)

what's an unconference?

top twitter analytics tools

taking your slide deck to the next level

u.s. army social media handbook is here

cipr supports prsa 'pr defined' initiative

how to improve local government communications

econsultancy state of social media report 2011

research: twitter drives more traffic to press releases than facebook

how to respond to criticism online

using digital channels effectively

12 Commandments for Local Government News

search for good stuff ...

« facebook: how? and why? for local government | Main | reasons to be cheerful - one, two, three... »

birds in the nest

by Darren Caveney

My dear old Dad used to say he was always happiest when “all of his birds were in the nest”.

His birds were, of course, his kids. He’d have done – and did – anything for those little birds. Right or wrong, he’d protect, support, help and nurture them and he’d flap and flutter whenever one of those birds left his well-kept nest.

I used to think that this was really funny, especially given he was a pretty tough cookie, unnervingly street-wise and the youngest of six kids from one of Birmingham’s harsher neighbourhoods.  

Although he’d never let on he was a real big softie deep down. But you’d never cross him as that tough early upbringing ran deep inside but which at the same time only served to strengthen his sense of family-first and unswerving loyalty to those he allowed into his nest.

This mother-hen approach followed him into the world of work and never more so than when he became a manager of his own team. The burden of responsibility weighed heavy on him at times, particularly when tough decisions needed to be made. He wouldn’t hesitate to tell someone straight if they had fouled up but he was also fiercely loyal and so when any of his brood were at risk he’d take it as a personal affront and see to it that wrongs were righted.

Of course, this approach isn’t so easy to stand by these days.

We’re in tricky times. Budget cuts, job losses, financial uncertainty and a sense now that things previously unthinkable are now, well, thinkable.

Those people out there who manage staff know only too well that this provides a whole new layer of responsibility. A responsibility which should not be underestimated.

In the past couple of weeks I have spoken to colleagues from three separate organisations that will be seeing cuts to their comms teams in the coming months. It’s genuinely scary stuff.

And even if your job isn’t currently at risk, it still feels as though it is, right?

The stark reality is that there will be fewer comms jobs in the public sector, and particularly local government, over the coming years. And new jobs are simply not being created in sufficient numbers to cancel out this worrying trend.

So whether you’re a manager or a member of a team what is the best way of developing – not feathering - your own nest and the nests of those around you?

Here is a simple five point plan which should go some way to protecting those nests we value so much:

  1. Don’t work harder, work smarter. Concentrate on the things which actually make a difference. Try hard each day not to get dragged into some of the silliness and day-to-day shenanigans which can often dictate. Carve out the time to do things which count, which serve your customers best and which generate positivity. 
  2. Learn new skills. Don’t know much about digital communications? Well learn. Embrace social media, get your head around web sites, experiment with infographics as communications tools. Don’t just continue doing what you’ve always done. That’s a one-way street with a great big brick wall at the end of it.
  3. Visit other nests. If your organisation isn’t great at key things then get out there and observe, or better still visit, someone who does do it well. And bring that learning into your own role and organisation for multiple benefits.
  4. Develop a portfolio career. Do you have skills you could teach? Can you do extra freelance work? How about volunteering for a cause close to your heart? Expand and manage your future offer.
  5. Be seen. Get yourself out there, for example on the speaker circuit. Share your best practice, your best work, the stuff which sets you apart. Comms folk are often strangely poor at promoting themselves. Nobody likes a braggart but extreme modesty isn’t helpful either. And think long and hard about the way in which you are presenting yourself on platforms like Twitter and Linkedin and the way in which a potential new employer will view you through these channels.

Now really is the time for us all to go out there and deliver the absolute best work that we can, embrace the changes, consider every opportunity and in your day job make sure that even if you do go, you go out with a bang.

As a result, your digital CV – we all now have one – will set you apart.

Many of us will have to leave to look for new nests in the future – don’t just hang around waiting for that windy day to bounce you out of yours. Take control, anticipate change and shape a nest-building plan which is right for you.

Darren Caveney is co-creator of

photo credit

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (2)

Great post Darren. Sounds like you grew up with a 22 carat dude of a Dad. Would love to discuss three of your five points in more detail. And I know I owe you lunch, or probably lunches! :-)

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Goodall

Thanks Kate, yes I was lucky to have a belter. I know you were too.

Yes, shout and we'll go grab coffee and cake.



October 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterDarren Caveney

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>