Housing and care staff are finding Twitter a very useful tool, but the lack of guidelines for staff usage is leaving employees feeling vulnerable about what they can say. This is what I’ve learned recently from speaking to various people from different organisations. They told me about what they use Twitter for, the risks, the rewards and why all organisations need a policy and guidelines for social media use.
The UK Cabinet Office published Social media guidance for civil servants today and broadly, it looks very progressive. There is also a lot to learn from it for other organisations concerned about social media use by staff. Some of the most interesting points concern trust and restrictions on social media, empowering staff, the role of HR and the purpose of a social media policy, and senior managers as role models for social media use.
“Social media is changing the way government works, and I believe it will have an increasingly important role to play in formulating and delivering government policy” ~ Sir Bob Kerslake, Head of the Civil Service, 4th May 2012
Social media guidance for civil servants explains that technical restrictions on social media access were instated in government offices before the benefits were perceived to outweigh the risks. But, as it acknowledges, ‘social media is likely to become as ubiquitous as email with many more, if not all, staff eventually needing to use it in some form as part of their work.’
During BBC Panorama 8.30pm-9pm on 23rd May 2012, Elderly Care and #panorama were trending highly on Twitter in the UK, which means more people were using Twitter to talk about this one TV programme than anything else. Panorama is a popular programme so when I heard that last night’s episode was on a hot topic (the failing care system in the UK) I suspected this might happen.
Since they would have been watching it anyway, we agreed that JRHT‘s Director of Care Services John Kennedy, JRF‘s Deputy Director of Policy & Research Nancy Kelley and JRF/JRHT Head of Media Abigail Scott Paul would tweet a bit of commentary/analysis/professional-opinion at the same time. I was also watching and retweeting some of their tweets from the corporate JRF account.
The purpose of this is to ensure that the expertise of JRF and JRHT is represented in the conversations taking place on topics we have experience/expertise in. Tweeting during TV programmes is one of the easiest ways to assert JRF and JRHT as leaders in our fields because we know that thousands of other people will also be watching those TV programmes and following the hashtag. I see this as part of JRHT’s commitment to influencing by demonstrating best practice.
Why should you blog? What should you put in a blog? How do you structure a blog? How to get started…
I came across these notes I made a while ago for a presentation about blogging. Thought they might still be useful to someone.
A blog is a revolution in publishing. Before blogging, if an organisation wanted to tell people about the work they did, they’d press release it and send it to journalists who would chop it up and rework it and publish in the press. The organisation has little control over how the information is presented or used.
Enthusiastic staff who embrace Twitter are often not supported by their employers and left unsure of what they can share
“Those who ignore social media do so at their peril”
Grant Shapps, Minister of State for Housing & Local Government sets out the benefits for social landlords of using social media to communicate with and get feedback from their tenants in a video made as an address to a conference on Social Media organised by the Northern Housing Consortium on Wednesday 7 March 2012.
There is a mathematical equation known as Metcalfe’s law, which explains why social networking is so powerful.
n(n − 1)/2
The value of a network doubles with every additional node (individual participant). Because that one node can communicate with everybody already in the network, it effectively doubles the number of potential links.
Simple but beautifully eloquent mathematics.