As a follow-up to my previous post about how the government can leverage social media to address the Salmonella issue -- as well as my follow-up post documenting the progress on this front at the Health and Human Services (HHS) department -- I ended up interviewing Andrew P Wilson for Ad Age's first ever TwitterView. This was actually a fun, and relatively easy, format for conducting an interview, and I appreciate Andrew's willingness to give it a go. In fact, his flexibility, as a key "conversationalist" for HHS, reflects the very point I tried to underscore in the story. What immediately struck me over the course of the interview is his sincerity, passion, and commitment to what he's doing. His "brand" helps the HHS brand by breaking down "faceless bureaucracy" perception barriers of government. Can that "scale." That's the big question for everyone in social media. I love this particular snippet of the interview
Pblackshaw: Is it easier to advance your social-media agenda in this administration? After all, didn't President Obama have tons of followers on Twitter?
AndrewPWilson: My impression is that President Obama understands the value of social media. Not as a tool but as a way to engage with the public.
Pblackshaw: You used to be web editor at the USDA? Learn anything experience that's coming in handy with HHS? Farmers are a tough crowd, I'm told.
AndrewPWilson: Interesting you mention farmers. Was in Peace Corps, and my experiences with farmers helped me understand value of creating personal connections.
At that last conversational sequence, it really hit me that he was the real deal, not just some "flavor of the month" social media convert. Long before Twitter cranked out its first 140 character message, Wilson's been thinking hard about what it means to nurture "meaningful relationships." Very well grounded and authentic. Recall the "Six Drivers of Credibility" from my book, Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3000." Against this backdrop, I'd give HHS solid marks across a number of key driver areas, and my guess is that he's also meet the full or partial "torture test" of other authors who have thought deeply about the unique intersection of personal and professional branding like Dan Schwabel (Me 2.0) and Rohit Bhargava (Personality Not Included)
In fairness, Andrew and his team have only been at this only been at this for a few weeks (the Twitter and Widget efforts at least), so I'll exercise a wee bit of restrain in my enthusiasm for now. But this is clearly a good one to watch. Again here's the article.