My recommended reading, viewing and thinking for the weekend!
My recommended reading, viewing and thinking for the weekend!
I am often asked for advice about how to use social media most effectively for engagement. Some thoughts and thanks to everyone who contributed their top tips!
I will be adding comments from Twitter so please feel free to add your own thoughts and social media top tip!
Great start to the day reading
@PaulBromford thoughts about the social CEO
1: Forget social media – it’s about being a social business
2: It will make you more visible, people will like you more
3: You are missing out on recruiting the best people
4: Customers will trust your organisation more
5: You are missing out on vital market intelligence
Followed by an insightful post from
@NathanConstable about the police use of social media and the reasons why some chief officers are reluctant to embrace social media:
1. With the best will in the world some just don’t “get it” and will need to be convinced of its value.
2. There is a fear of loss of control of message. Everything has to be corporate.
3. There is a fear that some of their officers will damage the reputation of the force by tweeting things they shouldn’t.
Good to share the newly published e-book Social Media and Mental Health Practice
An innovative response to the challenge of making care technology mainstream
78% of older web users say their life has improved by being online, says @age_uk economicvoice.com/life-online-is… via @economicvoice #digitalinclusion—
James Grant (JRF) (@bristoljames) March 21, 2013
On the 25th January 15 people assembled around 7.30 in the Kernel office to start the 30 hour novel writing marathon. I was one of them. It was a great experience and it was encouraging to see how quickly the group bonded sharing tips, encouraging thoughts and discussing their individual challenges. The different approaches taken by this diverse group were fascinating. Thanks to
@SusyPote who kept us well fed and watered over two long days.
A bonus for me was meeting Jeremy Wilson who shares my astonishment that technology companies are not doing more to enrich the lives of older people.
Some of the highlights which were shared on Twitter. Do feel free to add your favourite in the comments box!
Curious about #nanowriwee? Want to find out what it was like? What did I learn? Read my blog to find out. chrisbrosnahan.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/nanowr…—
Chris Brosnahan (@ChrisBrosnahan) January 28, 2013
A big thank you to Kernel for running this innovative event. I did not manage to finish my novella but there was so much learning from taking part. Congratulations to everyone who has submitted their novels by the deadline. I will update when the public voting for the winning novel starts tomorrow.
Lessons for the Care Sector?
How to move from thinking to doing in 30 hours. There was so much energy and focus from everyone I spoke to about being involved in #NaNoWriWee. I am left wondering what could be achieved for care if we gathered together a group of motivated and inspired people from across the care sector for two days with a radical brief to redesign the care, health and care systems which any one of us may need!
The WordPress.com stats helper prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Interesting to see the top referring site was Twitter!
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 7,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 13 years to get that many views.
An interesting Twitter discussion prompted by a session at the All Change! 2012: Reshaping Local Public Services event organised by Improvement and Efficiency East Midlands with the underlying themes of commissioning and new models of service delivery.
Whose Shoes was founded by Gill Phillips who is passionate about personalisation in health and social care. Whose Shoes? is an innovative resource which engages people to deliver public services in more creative ways.
I always think it is amazing the information that can be collected in a a few tweets!
If your organisation would like help in developing an online survey do get in contact! @shirleyayres
Thoughts from an unconference
Last weekend, I found myself in Manchester to attend Blue Light Camp. I went to my first ‘unconference’ GovCamp 2012 earlier this year and was both thrilled and compelled to attend another and booked myself up to go to BlueLight Camp at that point.
The purpose of Blue Light Camp was focused particularly on the use of social media/technology solutions and problems faced by first response services – particularly police, fire, ambulance but including social care and auxiliary services which have attached involvement.
The power of the ‘unconference’ is to (as was said yesterday) to capture more of the networking that happens around more traditional conferences and growing some of the more interesting conversations that develop and pushing them to the centre rather than keeping them at the periphery.
After large scale introductions, the pitches for the sessions started and I could see some of the difficulties in making decisions about where to go.
I started at a session based around ideas in the ‘Art of Deception’ and took part in a fascinating and wide ranging series of conversations about some of the darker forces and concerns about the use of social media as well as drawing and sharing experiences of the benefits.
It’s easy to be swayed and entranced by the power of the digital and new waves of communication but there are still rules and patterns of behaviour to be learnt. Some ‘mistakes’ are made through the spread of misinformation unintentionally but there can also be mischief-makers and worse who can see different ways of spreading and using the power of the tool in malicious ways.
We can (and often do) make mistakes in our uses of social media. Sometimes the best thing to do is to apologise and move on. We should treat our ‘users’, ‘customers’, ‘the general public’ as adults (if they are!) and we will gain more respect through honesty and reliability as a result – but there’s a lot of latent fear of ‘bad use’.
It was a conversation that I continued over lunch with some of the other attendees and one that made me realise how near we are to the beginning of our learning cycles about both potential perils and opportunities afforded to us by our use of networks of communication and that today’s Twitter will be tomorrow’s MySpace. Platforms change, but ways of communicating change more slowly.
Immediately after lunch, I attended a session on co-production. This is an area possibly where social care are slightly ahead of the game with the push for more user involvement/engagement. What followed was an interesting discussion on how to use the ‘general public’ to have a stake in the services we need and use – even if we are not aware of it – like the fire service. There was a lot we can learn in social care as a whole though from the suggestions shared – such as encouraging engagement and responses through the use of Bubblino. How do we encourage ‘micro feedback’ and use it in our services as some of the traditional feedback mechanisms (long PDF documents and filling in ‘response’ forms) can be dry and encourage the same people who are time-rich to have the louder voices. It is an area that definitely needs more creative thought and it was useful to share information across different services rather than – to put it bluntly – to reinvent the wheel in an infinite amount of ways.
I then attended a session of brainstorming about a new potential platform/web site/forum/online space for First Responders to collate and share information outside the silos that are currently in place. It’s an area that interests me particularly as I think we naturally allay into our ‘work based’ personae in order to build protective silos and can easily forget the sometime crucial element of who we are ‘working for’ ultimately.
It’s often seen between and within health and social care. My simplistic solution to some of these problems in the past where they have existed locally is to co-locate training or even visits so that we can meet and understand the ‘people behind the telephone’. Grumbling about ‘district nurses’ is easy but when you know Amy who was very friendly and made you a cup of tea, it’s more difficult to grumble and then, when you have an immediate issue, you make a point of calling Amy because she’s ‘easier to talk to’ than ‘some of the others’ then you can see the differences breaking down.
When Joe from the local police station visited and you had a laugh with him, you’ll feel less intimidated or concerned about calling him over what you might think is a minor issue or question. It doesn’t always work like that of course, but knowing people makes it easier to speak to them about the little things that come up. So that’s how it is face-to-face – can these relationships grow in parallel ways online? I have no doubt. There are some people who I have built up relationships with online and would seek to enter conversations with them to ask questions/support in a more private forum (email/DM) and I can see that happening more frequently. Again, it’s all about trust.
The final session I attended was a fascinating breakdown of information about how twitter in particular was used during the riots last summer. Farida Vis, a communications academic who has been researching the use of social media as a part of the Reading the Riots research gave a presentation/initiated a conversation about the way the social media was used in a civil emergency situation. She has written a blog post here which I highly recommend as she explains the premise and results of her research directly. The slides she spoke from were also shared here. Particularly interesting is the visualisation which she represents about the spread of rumours and the ways the rumours were quelled.
I may well return to a more extensive post about the use of social media during the riots so I won’t feedback more extensively now except to recommend you read the links I shared above.
So after some initial anxiety about attending, I found Blue Light Camp both invigorating and compelling. I have more ideas, more contacts and more incentive to return to work and ‘make a difference’ – what I am struck by is how many motivated, interested and exciting people there are in this sector and how much we can do when we ignore some of the barriers which are often used to divide us into different sectors.
And I got a blue pig.
So thanks to the incredible organisation team and sponsors. Thanks to all the attendees and thanks for the kindness, friendliness and openness. It was a compelling and thought-provoking Sunday in Manchester. I hope to be back.
Top photo from Metropolitan Police/Flickr
Over the last week, well – over the past few months really, I’ve had a few thoughts swooshing around in my head about my use of a pseudonym rather than my ‘real’ name in social networking or rather on blogs and Twitter.
I use my real name on Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn but felt that on Twitter and on blogs I would be too exposed. My desires to explore the medium of social networking both personally but also to increase my professional knowledge and to identify myself as a ‘social worker’ led to my initial reluctance to add my name to my posts.
I have checked out my employers attitudes to my writing which seems to be along the lines of absolutely maintaining confidentiality and not bringing my employer into disrepute but these would be bounds I would keep to regardless, not least because I am bound by a code of conduct by my profession which extrapolates out to all areas of communication including social media. My managers know I have a blog. They know something vague about Twitter in that it exists but they may or may not read my posts. There are definitely some people in positions of authority both in my local authority and in my NHS Trust who know exactly who I am and that I use Twitter – although we rarely ‘converse’ directly.
I can’t help feeling that I would be more comfortable attaching my name to my posts if the GSCC had some clear and specific guidance regarding social media but I understand that they are about to be disbanded and this role will remain within the means of the College of Social Work to take forward. And they must.
I see some very concerning uses of social media by people who claim to be social workers and it makes me worry if, by not giving my actual name (which would be checkable against the GSCC as I am a registered Social Worker) I lose some of that trust and authenticity that is so important when sharing information online. When I see someone with ‘social worker’ or ‘student social worker’ in their twitter profile describing a visit they have attended or encouraging people to expose more personal information about them into a public forum, I worry that by remaining anonymous, I lose some of the trust that people may have in me.
I’m also meeting more people in face to face settings that I have previously only known on Twitter. Obviously, it’s impossible to hide my identity there and there’s something wonderfully refreshing about being able to be open about who and what you are, do and say.
So what am I afraid of? Having established that I feel I operate well within guidelines provided by the GSCC and my employer why the funny cow name and face rather than my real ones?
Firstly I don’t want anything to detract from the work I do on a day to day level. While I would never discuss people I work with in these media, would people whom I am working with who find me and follow me, worry that I might? What would I do if someone I worked directly with ‘followed’ me? Would this be a concern or not? While I’m clear that Facebook requests are refused without second thought – where do the Twitter boundaries fall?
I don’t want to be a ‘star’ social worker (I’m not, by the way, saying I would be if I were to attach my name here but I am turning my hand increasingly to writing). I want to be a social worker that promotes the profession positively and yes, I’ll have some conversations on Twitter about whether Pandas are better than Crocodiles but that shouldn’t impact on my professional status. Indeed, the way the world is going, I feel it is increasingly difficult to divide ourselves into ‘work’ and ‘free time’ entities. We become the mass of what we do, how we communicate and moreover how we are perceived.
I see doctors, nurses and occupational therapists increasingly using their own names in these fora and I do wonder if I have been overcautious and I would actually gain far more by ‘coming out’ than I could ever potentially lose.
I’m moving away from ‘anonymity’ as a default and my defence of pseudonymity is fading. I feel comfortable standing publicly by the words I publish and I write as if I had my name attached in any case.
However, I am aware than once I cross ‘that line’ I can never go back.
I’d be interested in the thoughts of others. As is probably obvious, I am moving towards a public identification of my writing online but would welcome thoughts, comments etc before I finally make the ‘leap’.
This is a way that the world is changing. I think a point comes where in order to gain trust you may well need to have a name attached.
… And Why Social Media needs Social Care
This week, I was fortunate enough to attend a couple of events as a part of Social Media Week London. Ideally, I’d like to have attended more but combining evening activities with a full time job can be difficult to pace at the best of times.
The two events I went to, one about Blogging specifically and the other about use of Social Media by Nurses and Midwives were very different.
One took place in the downstairs room of a pub. The other in a flash office in central London. I’ll leave you to guess which was which.
Both had an underlying theme though – and that was the positive value of conversation and interaction that is entered into when media becomes social media.
It left me thinking about what needs to change both in Social Care (and more specifically, Social Work) to enable the positives to be accentuated while both practitioners and users of these services remain safe and within professional boundaries.
I considered the three networks than can improve work practice. How I use them and how they can be used.
Professional to Professional
We can build networks of conversation across social work and social care which can enhance knowledge and professional practice. Some examples of this might be both Twitter Chats (#swscmedia #sm4sw #nurchat) but also networks built based on forums such as Community Care’s CareSpace, KnowledgeHub and their specific interest groups relating to Social Care (I’m in a few Mental Health and Safeguarding Adult Groups) and the GSCC forum which is locked to those registered to the GSCC. There are also LinkedIn networks such as the Advanced Social Work Practitioners Network and Groups on Facebook such as the Masked AMHP page.
These have and can be immense sources for support and information. I believe they can also, particularly useful in a profession like social work which has been poorly served by ‘leaders’ who may seem sometimes more focussed on self-aggrandisement than professional representation they can firm up a professional identity and sense of ‘belonging’.
There is also a much freer flow of information between university academics and researchers and front line practitioners which has allowed me access and information about the most current research which has significantly fed into my practice knowledge and understanding.
Within these criteria these spaces are usually inhabited by those who are aware of professional codes of ethics.
In the absence of such specifics, it is obvious that even behind a closed network, no confidential information should ever be shared and that bullying of other users is just as unethical as it would be in ‘real life’. Hiding behind an anonymous user name does not excuse poor conduct. I’ve seen all these ‘precepts’ being broken by people professing to be ‘professionals’ online.
Professional to User and Vice Versa
I’m being a bit lazy with use of the distinction between ‘professional’ and ‘user’. Not least because it is entirely possible to be both. However the context in which I am referring to this here is where a personal self-identifies as someone within a particular profession and someone (not necessarily known to them) may seek them out for guidance on the basis of that professional role.
It might be a general call out for information on aspects of the Mental Health Act (1983 as amended 2007). I know I’ve responded to those kinds of requests on Twitter.
However in the absence of specific social media guidelines from the GSCC, I refer to those used by the NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) about not using social media or social networking sites to build or pursue relationships with people for whose care you are responsible or were ever responsible.
Though social media can be used to share information and we shouldn’t be afraid to signpost information. One of my sadnesses (and joys) was to hear about nurses talk about positive use of social media to inform and share factual information to people who might find it more accessible.
Some twitter chats and fora again open up to users and professionals in different ways but if they do and if they are intended to, I think it’s important that they are accessible and open to users by remaining jargon free and informative rather than building further divides in both knowledge and power between those who work in social care and health and those who need those services.
This was one area I’d have liked to discuss in more length at the Nursing and Midwifery Council event because for me, it’s been one of my sharpest learning curves in social media and my own professional development.
Too often we hear about ‘health’ ‘social care’ being divided and these social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Blog platforms, Forums, LinkedIn and I could go on, allow me to build links with those in health, and policing, and law and communications and for us all (I hope) to grow more knowledgeable and understanding as a result.
I’ve personally benefited immensely from the Twitter Chats at #nhssm and ‘#lgovsm as well as #polmh from Mental Health Cop. I have found in my professional life that silos are best broken by personal relationships which are made and formed and being able to see these ‘other professionals’ as people before representatives of ‘Nursing’ or ‘Occupational Therapy’ or ‘Social Work’ or ‘Ambulance Staff’ or ‘Academics’.
This is a real way that social media can benefit understanding in the delivery of better care for those who use and need our services and that has to be the outcome that we are all looking for.
And of course, my own witterings at Not So Big Society involve a collaborative element between social workers and nurses!
There’s a well known saying that the past is another country but then, so is the future. I think the future is very exciting. I’d love to see the College of Social Work establish some guidelines for professionals in the use of social networking in similar lines to the NMC.
I know that we should be able to extrapolate out these guidelines from the current Code of Practice but I feel that more guidance is needed to protect social workers and social work students as well as users of social work services – for clarity and to ensure and promote safe practice.
In the meantime, I’ve said it before and will again, pseudonym or not, be sensible. If you identify yourself as a professional, behave like you. Blog, Tweet, Link as if your name was attached. If you are not happy with that, think about what you are posting/writing before you press send.
This weekend, I went to an ‘unconference’ for the first time. I attended UKGovCamp 2012 at Microsoft’s London Headquarters on Saturday. UKGovCamp ran over Friday and Saturday (I am a bit tight on the annual leave so only attended on the Saturday).
Worth looking through a few other posts about the event here, here here and here – with an summary of a session about Social Media and Whitehall here. (I didn’t attend that session as it was on Friday but I think there are a lot of issues that resonate with people working in local government at the ‘frontline’ as well).
It is quite a staggering experience to be alongside people from so many different walks and paths in life who converge on a physical location to discuss, plan, brainstorm and problem-solve around similar topics. In this forum the discussions were around people working in the public sector and issues relating to it although the definitions were helpfully quite broad.
The first part of the day (and I’m only referring to the Saturday here!) involved everyone introducing themselves in a large room. Then people ‘bid’ or presented the sessions they wanted to run.
The problem for me, was that there was an embarrassment of riches – too many people to talk to and too many topics I want to discuss. I will write up some of my learning from the individual sessions and particular conversations at a different time.
My main learning points were possibly more ethereal than many there – particularly as I attended on the ‘doing’ day where solutions were being planned which probably wasn’t my forte to be blunt.
While I’d love to follow the bullet point format for ease of reading, I’m afraid I couldn’t manage it so here are more longer learning points!
- I met many enthusiastic and visionary people in and around government – not necessary (rarely) at management levels but people willing to spend an entire Saturday in London (no small cost regarding travel/hotels for some) to talk about making things work better for the people who use and need our services.
- I found a pleasant ‘niche’ of people very interested and involved in the social care sector which made me feel less out of place to be there and convinced me of the importance of front line practitioners to take a real interest in the ways that technology and creative thinking can change our practice and ‘make things better’ and use these skills to add our expertise rather than wait for systems to be delivered to us and then gripe about them.
-I don’t think I’ve ever attended an event where everyone else in the session had a Twitter ID and where everyone was comfortable with others tweeting/typing during the session (sounds trite but actually, Twitter is a very useful way to engage in post-conference chat as it allows open conversations/sharing links/books/articles in an easy way and doesn’t demand the same intensity as a ‘one to one email chat’)
- I met some people who work in wholly different fields who really challenged my assumptions about the ways things work in our sector and helped me to imagine difference and see it as real. This is a really important lesson for social care and social work. We need to see difference beyond the individual and in societies and organisations.
- It was great being around people who lack some of the cynicism of work in the public sector. Which is, despite what the government would have us believe, a fantastic place to work.
- While there is a massive amount of work that can be done to build and make connections and have discussions in the social media space, particularly around accessibility, sometimes it just can’t beat a face to face discussion.
-There’s no such thing as too many plug points when everyone has at least a phone and a laptop/tablet.
-It’s really really good to be around ‘geeks’. They are some of the most friendly people around.
- Me + table with free pens = New pen supplies for the next year. Sorry guys. Irresistable to a social worker used to working in an open plan office where black pens last an average of 3 mins when left on a desk. Even in these days of ‘paperless’ working.
I have a lot more to ponder on when I get time. I think there’s a lot of change going on in service delivery and we have to try and be involved and make links across organisations between the tech teams and the front line teams else our needs are left behind. I could get hooked on unconferences too. Despite being a long day, I feel fresher than I have for a long time about going back into work tomorrow and ‘making things better’ at a macro as well as micro level.
And finally, but most important of all – I met some really really fantastic people doing really fantastic things. I hope to write more about that over the next week and weeks. Thanks to everyone I met and who welcomed me into the ‘govcamp’ family. I’ll be back!
Next stop – BlueLightCamp in April in Manchester! I would encourage other social workers and frontline social care staff (as well as all in emergency services) to attend. Let’s make it work and let’s make us and our services work better!