Crowdsourcing social media training – your help needed please

SimonGeneral13 Comments

Over the next six weeks I’m delivering a number of basic social media training sessions for elected members and officers at Medway Council.

I’m planning on talking about what social media and why it’s such an important change in how organisations need to communicate, as well as doing some practical interactive stuff too.

One of the things I want to prove is the value of crowdsourcing and sharing knowledge through social media.

So to prove my case on the crowdsourcing front, please could you spend a minute giving me your thoughts on the top messages you think I should give in the training sessions? What would you talk about? What examples should I show to give people a good feeling for social media in local government?

13 Comments on “Crowdsourcing social media training – your help needed please”

  1. I think you need to use metaphors. Many ‘digital immigrants’ are at first bewildered by talk of blogs, twitter and social networks. So you need to bring it to life through examples:

    Blogs can be highly personal and of little public interest – but they can also be the Huffington Post, equivalent in status and reach to a major national newspaper (news media metaphor).

    Facebook or MySpace may seem dysfunctional to outsiders, but they facilitate communications and photo/music sharing among groups of friends (community metaphor).

    Twitter allows you to discuss the shifting boundary between public and private (this boundary is important to a public sector body and also to public relations). Public sphere metaphor?

  2. Show them the CivicSurf documentary about 3 Cllrs in Norfolk as they got to grips with blogging. It shows how “ordinary” Cllrs can benefit.
    I’ll stick some in the post.

  3. What ACTUAL councils are doing and how it’s made a difference. Focusing on how you can use social media to do your job/ serve local people – practical examples on how RSS can help you keep up with what’s going on for a start.

    Don’t try to do everything at once. We just ran one pilot course and didn’t try to get people actually blogging/tweeting/ etc. But we hope to be able to do that in separate one hour clinics.

  4. Steve, Richard, Shane and Ingrid – many thanks for your input – a great demonstration of crowdsourcing and some genuinely helpful insight for my training sessions

  5. I agree about the analogy/mataphor angle.

    The one I always use is of physical networking at a conference. It’s not enough to simply turn up, sit down and hope that people will notice you. You have to raise some questions, voice some opinions and get out there at lunch with a pocket full of business cards. You then have to spend time after the event following up on those connections you have made to develop proper relationsships.

    That is the way to get ahead in your chosen field – and that is the way to make social networks work for you.

  6. No problem – and if you want a few example conversations then here are three recent ones from out new Twitter account. All were instigated by me after I picked up ‘Croydon’ references using a regular Twitter keyword search. I like to think that they set the tone that will continue as we explore this area further:-

    yourcroydon@SamCarson Sam, I will flag this location to our contractor. We have run various anti-litter campaigns in the past with some success.

    SamCarson@yourcroydon But thank you for your interest. I think a broader sustained campaign on litter, as I had when growing up in Canada.
    about 1 hour ago from TwitterGadget in reply to yourcroydon

    SamCarson@yourcroydon It seems systemic – a sad lack of civic pride. But from E Croydon station down Cherry Orchard road is where I it see every day.
    about 1 hour ago from TwitterGadget in reply to yourcroydon

    What a lovely morning! Sun is peaking through the concrete of Croydon to reveal its inner beauty – and extreme amounts of litter.
    about 5 hours ago from web

    @ereuben 365,000 people can’t all be wrong. Don’t let a few bad apples spoil the barrel
    about 15 hours ago from mobile web

    ereuben@yourcroydon On one hand I commend your social media skills; on other, Croydon is a shit-tip filled with scumbags. Just IMHO of course.
    about 18 hours ago from TweetDeck in reply to yourcroydon

    @ereuben would that be the same Croydon that was a Britain in Bloom finalist last year? Have you ever strolled through Happy Valley? Lovely!
    about 18 hours ago from web in reply to ereuben

    @rhys_stk There are so many places competing for “Arsehole of London” – I nominate Croydon (geographically pertinent)
    about 20 hours ago from mobile web

    @emmafolds Emma – sorry. I was on the Elmers End tram…looked around anyway, but no cardie! Hope you were not too cold getting home!
    3:04 PM Mar 9th from web in reply to emmafolds

    emmafolds@yourcroydon 5pm Wimbledon to New Addington. It’s black and wooly and thanks so much!
    3:00 PM Mar 9th from twitterrific in reply to yourcroydon

    left my cardigan on the tram. no chance I’m getting it back, this is Croydon.
    10:11 AM Mar 9th from web

    1. thanks John – that’s really useful – I was looking for some non-Medway twitter examples so that’s helpful – are you the sole “responder” behind the yourcroydon account?

        1. interesting. have you got any “formal” arrangements in place (as many councils would like) or are you just feeling your way through (our approach at the moment).

          I have a suspicion that councils that try to make too many policies around this kind of thign will fail – it’s too new and there aren’t any proven models to follow.

          That said, I think a bit of common sense, awareness of social media etiquette and following the usual codes of conduct, constitutions will serve most councils well.

  7. Another metaphor (not 100% sure this works, but hope you get the general point):-

    Traditional local authority marketing can be akin to firing a blunderbuss blindfolded during a blanket-bombing raid in a thunderstorm: social media allows targeted searches to give us laser guided sniper precision for hitting very specific targets. What our campaigns may lack in quantity they can make up for in impact effectiveness…

    1. the quantity vs effectiveness argument is important – we (comms/mkting people) have spent so long dealing in volume measures that we have convinced non-communicators that volume is good – whereas now reaching niche audiences means small numbers of people are important – as long as they’re the people you need to reach!

      there are, of course, other ways to do targetted marketing – for example using data to profile, target and segment audiences, but social media is another very powerful tool to use alongside “traditional” marketing tools

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