Miguel Navrot’s 10-year career and rise through the ranks at the city of Albuquerque in some ways follows the emergence and growth in significance of municipal government driven by IT, data-driven results and social media communication.
A former military affairs reporter for the Albuquerque Journal, Navrot joined the city as a technical writer, then served as its website managing editor before becoming the first-ever digital engagement manager in August 2015.
1. How does the change in your job title and role reflect a larger evolution in Albuquerque’s perspective on digital government?
It’s an acknowledgment of the evolution that’s happening before our eyes. These are fantastic times. We started with the Web and moved on with social media, and shortly after apps [came] open data. And, of course, having a website that was responsive to all devices.
The next step is interesting. Are we going to bots? That’s certainly something we’re looking into — say, Facebook Messenger or Alexa. We try to be as responsive and accessible as we can to as large an audience as possible with the finite resources that we have.
2. How has the digital engagement manager title influenced or shaped your work?
Part of the job is staying abreast of emerging trends, and it’s just not enough to focus on the website and worry about our next content management system upgrade. It’s also trying to be more attuned to what other governments our size and larger are trying to accomplish in the digital world and make sense of it. It’s also serving in an advisory role to other departments. There are also elements of marketing in this as well.
3. How do you promote cross-departmental/inter-service engagement?
The current mayor, Richard J. Berry, was quick to start a roundtable of all the communications officers in the city. Once a month, we sit down and talk about what every department is working on. It gives me an idea of what I can help promote on the website or social media. About four years ago, we started a social media meet-up. We put together a monthly get-together for different departments to discuss best practices, tools and tricks for best facilitating social media. It allows folks in different departments to get beyond the silos and have conversations with each other.
4. How do you help city departments identify and understand their audiences?
The first step is just sitting down and trying to identify, what is our message? Going back to the old Dr. Spock book on child-rearing, it opens up with “You know more than you think you know.” We have our own back-end analytics that we can look at. In a way, it’s being attuned to the information we already have as well as sitting down and trying to understand, almost from a marketing standpoint, who do we want to contact?