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A more fun way to communicate an internal strategy


At the National Housing Federation, we’ve recently updated our social media strategy. As the digital world is ever changing, our strategy needs to evolve too. It clearly sets out how we use social media as an organisation and how it contributes to our business plan and brand. It identifies our audiences, evaluation methods and includes a content strategy.

It’s a simple step but for me it’s really exciting because it means we can confidently roll out plans, training and workshops to ensure digital and social is at the heart of what we do. The next challenge was going to be how to communicate the strategy internally in a way that engages colleagues from all departments. I didn’t want it to be just another email attachment they’d skim-read if we were lucky.

I discussed this with our (brilliant) internal comms expert Kerry Hill and we decided to launch the strategy…

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Top 50 Power Players In #UKHousing 2014 – Your Vote Counts….

Paul Taylor

Power. Influence. Social Housing Heroes Power. Influence. Social Housing Heroes

A year ago I published The Top 50 Power Players In Housing [Klout Edition] – featuring people working in and around the sector.

The idea came to me as I was sipping rum at a beach bar in Jamaica, checking my Klout score and wondering why I hadn’t made the main list in 24 Housing Magazine.

More seriously – it was done as an exercise in comparing online and offline influence.

Only 14 of the original Power Players remained in the online list. The democratising effect of social media was apparent. CEOs disappeared almost completely and were replaced by people with less seniority – in the traditional hierarchical sense. There was a higher number of women, more ethnic diversity and at least 3 of the top 10 influencers were under the age of 30.

There is a serious point to this. We now have…

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Social media makes women stupid…or does it?

Felicity Capon


According to a recent study, girls at college and university are pretty silly. Rather than spending their time diligently studying in their college library, getting involved in a student protest or embarking on a pub crawl, their bodies covered in blue paint and dressed like a smurf, they are in fact, spending a staggering 12 hours of their day transfixed by social media. That’s 12 hours on average – half a day – engaged in some form of media use, “in particular texting, music, the internet and social networking”.

Silly girls.

The piece of research, carried out by the Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine, questioned 483 female college students at an American northeast university about their social media habits. They were also asked to complete a survey about academic confidence, behaviours and problems. The findings are pretty bleak.

The lead author of the study, Jennifer Walsh, concluded: “We…

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Digital technology and new models of support for older people

A new report by Shirley Ayres for Nominet Trust outlines the issues we’re facing in an ageing society and explores the potential of online digital communications technology to address these issues. As well as Shirley’s invaluable insights, this report provides a comprehensive review of the evidence and research in this area and cites innovative projects already under way.

It focuses on well-being, independence and prevention through access, connection and inclusivity. She makes the vital point early on that digital technology cannot replace human contact, kindness, empathy and understanding but it does allow people to connect in different ways, quickly and easily.

Feeling connected and having supportive social relationships has a strong link to health and longevity. Isolation, loneliness, physical and mental health challenges are important social challenges facing society as a whole. And for older people in particular, isolation is a major factor impacting on their well-being and life expectancy.

Social media has made an impact on the way many of us communicate, collaborate and share knowledge and information – whether that is with friends and family, colleagues or complete strangers. Online engagement is a powerful way to draw connections between people that may have never met, but who share many of the same life experiences and interests.

Challenges for social care

‘Older people’ are not a homogenous group, they’re as varied in their needs and interests as individuals in any other sector of the population.

Technology provides many different ways of connecting people and resources. This should enable the design and delivery of appropriate care services that help to celebrate and value the life experience and wisdom offered by the older people they are supporting.

Shirley also addresses issues of digital inclusion. Government plans to deliver more services ‘digital by default’ have created challenges for social care including disparity of Internet access and digital literacy.

The use of technology for enabling social contact and participation can be very successful, but many older people need a little help to start using digital technology – plus ongoing support


The report calls for a more holistic approach to ageing, taking into account not only the complex needs of older individuals but also those of individuals with care responsibilities. It champions better integration of service provision and collaboration between the digital tech industry, academics, care providers and people who use care services.

Care and support in a digital society needs to have a different focus which challenges the perceptions of older people as being a ‘burden’ and promotes the benefits of technology to enable people to live more independent, safe and fulfilling lives.

She concludes with a number of recommendations, including:

  • Developing from the ground up an independent Community Wellbeing and Social Technology Hub which takes advantage of the technology which it reports on and supports all stakeholders to to share resources in discoverable ways
  • Carers and care seekers need to access information and support online more easily
  • A more joined-up approach to digital inclusion and a more open way of working to avoid expensive and unnecessary duplication of pilots
  • Digital tech innovation showcase events

The full report can be found here.

Twitter is the fastest-growing social network in the world

Twitter is now the fastest-growing social network in the world, with almost half a billion people signing up worldwide.

59% of Twitter account holders are now active on a monthly basis, up from 50% in the first half of 2012.

The number of account holders who use Twitter at least once a month grew 40% in the second half of 2012 to 288 million, according to the internet research company Global Web Index (GWI).

This figure means Twitter – valued at $9bn (£5.7bn) – is growing faster than both Facebook and Google+.

No doubt something will replace Twitter one day but whatever happens, I’m confident the skills necessary to use it now, that experience and a working understanding of the key principles will give us the grounding we need to keep up with vital developments and changes in the way we work as digital communications technology rapidly advances.

How to use IFTTT to get new JRF/JRHT job vacancy alerts by text message

So I created a recipe using If This Then That so you can arrange to be alerted by text message as soon as there’s a new job advertised at Joseph Rowntree Foundation / Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust but a lot of people are struggling to make it work.

I know it works though because I receive the texts and so does my colleague.

JRF jobs text from IFTTT - screengrab2

This is what you need to do:

1. follow a link to the recipe I created
2. click ‘Use Recipe’
3. Join IFTTT (this is free and requires only a username, email address and password)
4. Click ‘Use recipe’ again
5. Enter your mobile number (because we’re in the UK you’ll have to replace the first ‘0’ with ’00 +44′ (so if your mobile number started 07979… you would enter 00 +44 7979…etc.)
6. IFTTT will text you a 4-digit pin number. Enter this number where prompted to confirm the mobile number you’ve given them is your own

That should be it. You may have to scroll down and click ‘Use recipe’ one final time.

NB you will not receive a text message from IFTTT until there is a new job posted on the website (here).

Please let me know whether this works or not – either in a comment or you can email me on james.grant@jrf.org.uk

Latest Digital Developments – round-up (19/12/2012)

On my radar – some of the latest digital developments, debate and insights (please add anything I have missed in the comments, thanks)

Digital by default requires a concerted culture change

Embracing the new digital by default strategy will benefit public service users, but government departments will have to change

For [the Department of Health], going digital is more about adopting digital tools and techniques we now take for granted in our personal lives to make the business of government better. These techniques can help us communicate more effectively; share and manage knowledge more robustly; develop more efficient working practices and improve and open up policy-making.

 By Rachel Neaman, deputy director of digital, channel strategy and publishing, and digital leader for the Department of Health, Digital by default requires a concerted culture change, The Guardian Thursday 6 December 2012

How social media can help you do your job in #ukhousing

Bromford Group tops the list in social communications study because it behaves as a network of connected staff, residents and partners

How can housing providers demonstrate that they are delivering social value? We believe that running a social business provides at least part of the answer. Under the banner “connected housing”, Thames Valley Housing Association is working to understand how housing professionals can use social media more effectively to improve their efforts for tenants and customers.

By Jayne Hilditch, corporate services director at Thames Valley Housing Association, How social media can help you do your job in #ukhousing, The Guardian, Friday 7 December 2012

How social business is changing the way we work

Businesses that utilise social tools are embracing a new age of problem solving and interaction

Social business is an increasingly popular organisational strategy that embraces a flatter and more transparent company culture and more collaborative, mobile and social technology in the workplace. Social business is a response to a variety of technology trends, including consumerisation of IT, social media, big data and cloud computing combined with the generational shifts taking place in the office.

By Johan Zetterström, CEO of Projectplace, How social business is changing the way we work, The Guardian, Monday 10 December 2012

How to manage and curate social media for live events

Social media can contribute to the success of an event, whether it’s a conference, a sports match, or live chat during a TV show. But with people posting to different channels from all angles, it’s hard to know where to begin managing and curating all that content in order to improve the experience of attendees and viewers, and not swamp them. Fret not: here’s how to run a tight ship.

By Tamara Littleton, CEO of eModeration, How to manage and curate social media for live events, Econsultancy Blog, Wednesday 12 December 2012

 Future of Impacts: ‘How to’ guide to social media, podcasting and blogging for academics

Nice round-up of resources on academic blogging, podcasts and social media on the LSE’s Impact of Social Sciences Blog

Missed our on our ‘How to’ sessions at the recent Future of Impacts conference? Never fear, our ‘How to’ social media, podcasting, blogging and impact case study guides are here.

From Impact of Social Sciences Blog (LSE), Future of Impacts: ‘How to’ guide to social media, podcasting, blogging and writing your REF impact case study Friday 14 December 2012

Prosecutors clarify offensive online posts law

New guidelines could see fewer people being charged in England and Wales for offensive messages on social networks.

The Director of Public Prosecutions said people should face a trial only if their comments on Twitter, Facebook or elsewhere go beyond being offensive. He said the guidance combats threats and internet trolls without having a “chilling effect” on free speech.

By Dominic Casciani, Prosecutors clarify offensive online posts law, BBC News, Wednesday 19 December 2012