Warren Mundine’s mundane tweet – cast

Mundine fails to win over his biggest critics with sterile guest tweet spot

A gig as a guest tweeter can be a great way to win over your audience, especially when you’re in politics. It allows you to be ‘real’ and approachable while still having an element of mystery as you hide behind your i-device.

I had high expectations of Warren Mundine’s guest tweet spot with @IndigenousX today but sadly, I don’t think I am the only one who feels even more disillusioned with him and his agenda now. Mundine, who is Chair of the Indigenous Advisory Council, didn’t enter into any tweet conversation (which is the point of a gig like this) he just posted comments that were laced with key messages and links to news articles (one from 2012) and past speeches. It felt like a broadcast or a tweet-cast that regurgitated the policy messages that jobs and education will solve the complex problems within the Aboriginal population.

As a person employed in the Aboriginal health sector his policies in that area are my number one focus. Health issues in the Aboriginal population are complex and chronic and I think talking about what’s more important to close the gap, out of jobs or good health, demonstrates the revolving door nature of the problems.

But he wouldn’t answer the health questions, he kept pointing to a speech he had written in the past which apparently answered every burning health question I had.

In the midst of my tweet session with Mundine I turned to a colleague and said: “Am I just being difficult here? I mean, is it just a case of which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

I say better health will close the gap, he says lifting communities out of poverty with jobs, education and general economic empowerment will fix the health status. I remind him that Aboriginal people usually need to travel to Perth for treatment such as dialysis; three times a week. That’s a big commute from somewhere like Halls Creek for example (30 hours one way).

The Halls Creek example isn’t the extreme situation a lot of you might think it is. It is reality. One service I have been to in very remote Midwest Western Australia had one dialysis chair and that had to service nearly half of the town’s Aboriginal, non-Aboriginal and diabetic population. At a guess I’d say that’s probably around 350 people.

If you’re chronically ill how can you work or go to school?

You say tom – ay – toe, I say tom- ah -toe.

Health aside, from a PR perspective I think this guest tweet spot was disappointing. Others before him, like Kirstie Parker the Co-Chair for National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, were great. And by great I mean real. Whether I agree with her or not, at least you could imagine her sitting with an i-device and tapping out a tweet.

With Mundine I saw Hootsuite, key messages and a planned campaign held together by the strong arm of a political PR person. There was nothing real about his broadcast. This was a great opportunity for Mundine to win over some of his biggest critics but sadly, he has not succeeded.

I don’t disagree with him on the need for jobs or economic empowerment for Aboriginal people, I just don’t think the solution is as simple as that. Not for any population.

Cross-pollinating to create synergies

The CEO at my current not-for-profit client described a restructure as an attempt to cross-pollinate and synergise teams. This used to make my stomach churn but instead I had a little moment of ‘Awww, that’s really sweet.’

It was actually nice to hear a completely non-corporate organisation using a completely corporate set of words.

Patronising? Yes, bad me.  

It got me thinking about the best (as in worst) corporate w**k words used in the workplace.

Unfortunately I can’t take the credit for this one and while it was said as a joke, I have no doubt that somewhere out there in the big wide work world it is being used:

Let’s stir fry that in the ideas wok.

What are your favourites fellow word nerds?

Doing what is necessary

Do what’s necessary, not what would be amazing. 

My current client is a Not for Profit, an area I have never worked in before. To be honest, the last six months have been a big, ugly wake up call for me.

My lesson from 2013? PR for profit making businesses doesn’t translate well to the sector that cares/advocates/raises money. 

Reinstating a newsletter and e-bulletin, re-writing and designing a company brochure and updating a website did not seem enough for my client, a health Not-for-Profit. I wanted more – a Youtube channel, social media suite, slick information packs, tweetable key messages…….

This organisation was doing great work, I wanted to shout their praises from the tallest building in Perth. My PR-trained head was saying hold up little lady, get the house in order first. 

Now it’s January 2014 and my head has stopped spinning, my feet have firmly touched the ground and it’s time to run, but not before I can walk. 

The house does have to be in order first. I have learned to stop and listen not only to my logical self but also to my audience and realise how important the newsletter is to them and right now that’s my highest priority. They won’t care about a Youtube channel if they can’t ‘touch’ what we’re doing or see themselves in our publication. 

I’ve learned that what is small to me is huge to other people. My mantra for the first quarter of 2014 is to do what’s necessary, not what would be amazing. 

Amazing can be the last half of this year. 

Second resolution? No more cliches, I promise.