#102 Frank Quinlan – connecting citizens with government through social media

In this podcast we learn how social media is being used to connect citizens with decision makers, to advocate for better outcomes in mental health. Frank Quinlan is the Chief Executive Officer of Mental Health Australia, the peak body representing mental health organisations in Australia. Frank is responsible for implementing Mental Health Australia’s vision of mentally healthy people, mentally healthy communities.

In this episode he speaks with David Pembroke about:

  • getting decision makers to recognise the challenges facing mental health organisations
  • the disconnect between awareness and policy
  • using human stories to resonate
  • defining goals and targets before deciding on strategy
  • the unique challenge of peak body representation of members’ interests
  • using social media to connect with users of the mental health system
  • measuring the effectiveness of your publishing

Listen to the podcast:

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Selected links:

Download the transcript

Frank Quinlan on LinkedIn

Mental Health Australia website

Frank Quinlan on the power of social media:

“I think the perhaps most unexpected benefit I would describe is the direct interaction that I’ve been able to have with highly motivated people out there experiencing our mental health system. If I publish something via Twitter or Facebook, I will almost certainly receive very direct feedback from the dad who’s looking after his 14 year old daughter, or the woman who’s struggling with a bit of postnatal or whatever the relevant thing is, and my understanding of the nature of the world is enriched by those very direct interactions. And unfiltered. That’s a direct one on one communication. I think that’s important. The other thing that I think is important and perhaps less surprising, though, is the capacity of that social media to be delivering messages to our various political audiences with relative ease.

We can send a tweet out and the right tweet will get a response almost immediately from the relevant minister, him or herself responding directly to an issue that we might raise. That’s also a much more direct conversation, the other way. It’s not about our dear friends in the public service preparing lengthy briefings before the minister makes a particular statement about this or that. It can be about engaging quite directly in a conversation with representatives who are up there on the hill every day about the constituents and the reason why they need to be acting on these sorts of things. That sort of direct engagement I think is probably both ways, with our political audience and with our public audience, I think that sort of direct engagement is probably the overwhelming benefit of the movement into this self-publishing environment.”

 

David Pembroke

About David Pembroke

David Pembroke is the CEO and founder of contentgroup, a government and public sector content communications agency based in Canberra, Australia.

He has a commerce degree (marketing major) from one of Australia’s leading business schools (University of New South Wales) and worked in product management for the American multinational 3M. He changed careers to work in media where he spent a decade as a radio current affairs and sports reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

He was the communications director of the Australian Rugby Team when they won the Rugby World Cup in 1999 and is a member of the Australian Olympic media team.

contentgroup was founded in 1997 and offers consulting, content production, training and research services. David hosts InTransition, a weekly podcast which examines the practice of content communication in government and the public sector.

More posts by David Pembroke

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