Seriously? The Irish Times reports that the Health Service Executive (HSE) recently hired two digital influencers – bleurgh! – to advise staff on their use of social media platforms, technology-channeled relationships and the proper method for taking selfies (I may be making the last one up). The duo included the hipster entrepreneur Niall Harbison, founder of the wannabe Buzzfeed website, Lovin’ Dublin, who was recruited by the HSE to:
“…address staff about his vision for healthcare in Ireland… Harbison, founder of and occasionally controversial writer for the Lovin’ Dublin website, was paid €615 to speak at the Ehealth Ireland ‘ecosystem’ event in Dublin on June 29th.
He reduced his normal speaking fee of €1,000 to €500 excluding Vat for the HSE…
The HSE initially told Harbison’s team that it didn’t usually pay speakers for such events as they were a collaboration to “raise awareness around health”.
His team then said he was happy to do “charitable events” for a fee of €500.
Surely doing “charitable events” for wads of cash is the antithesis of the charitable sentiment? Then again, this is Ireland, so, y’know…
Anyhooo, the buttoned-up scourge of all things tracksuited lectured the gathered HSE staff on the importance of “…being mobile first“. Presumably in opposition to being sedentary first, an unhealthy lifestyle choice which at least is tangentially linked to what the Health Service Executive actually does (I may be taking the mobile part a bit too literally here).
Harbison commanded less for his speaking engagement than social media trainer Samantha Kelly, who trades under the name ‘The Tweeting Goddess’ and who was paid €650 to address HSE staff at meeting in Dublin on June 2nd.
Wexford-based Kelly, a former contestant on the television show Dragons’ Den, charges just under €1,000 per month to take over Twitter accounts to help individuals or organisations build their social media following.
Thankfully I was not the only one to be struck by the questionable avant-garde nature of all this. So, if the HSE wants to save some money I’m quite happy to offer my advice to its staff on their social media strategy, right here, right now. It’s very simple really. Don’t post photos of your bits online. Done! 🙂