"Which is worse? The wolf who cries before eating the lamb or the wolf who does not."— Leo Tolstoy

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rachel Sterne - NYC's Chief Digital Officer - The Assistant Mayor of Memes?

Photo by Sebastian Kim,  linked from Vogue.com
The current issue of Vogue has an article by Adam Green about Rachel Sterne, who was appointed by Mayor Bloomberg in January to be NYC's first Chief Digital Officer. This is a brand new area of public administration.

Chief Digital Officer is a bit of a misnomer, though. The job title makes her sound like she's a CIO when the job is more of a New Media Officer.  The ease with which the 'hipster cop' meme sped through cyberspace makes me think Ms. Sterne may have had something to do with nurturing the meme along its way and onto the pages of GQ.  If that is true, my hat goes off to her.  The 'hipster cop' meme  changed the focus of the online conversation about the NYPD from police brutality to . . .  I'm sorry, I was distracted by the shiny object.  What were we talking about?

The NYC CDO position has a lot of potential.  The use of new media by municipal governments  to interact with constituents is still in its infancy.  There are also a lot of challenges since there isn't any money in most municipal budgets to pay for cutting edge initiatives. My wish list for digital communication projects from NYC would include streaming Precinct Community Council Meetings and Community Board meetings live on the Internet with the ability to ask questions during the meeting.  It wouldn't be expensive and could be handled easily by the Precinct's Community Affairs Officer with a couple hours training.

I wish Ms. Sterne the best of luck as NYC's CDO and look forward to seeing what she makes of the new position.

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