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.
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.
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
Below is something I wrote for work. The chief exec is referred to here as she/her because I had our chief exec in mind when I wrote it. If you think I’ve left anything out or disagree with anything, please leave me a comment.
If the chief exec uses no other social media tools, she should invest in:
Taken and used in conjunction with one another, these tools can help the chief exec to achieve the following social media objectives:
1. to further develop her online profile;
2. to further develop her online network.
Blogs are a vital tool for anyone whose job it is to convey messages. They are a simple way to keep people informed and up-to-date with your professional activity. A blog can be used to give a human face and voice to an organisation or brand – essential for communicating messages online. A blog allows the author to:
- assert her authority in her field, and used regularly;
- help to maintain her (professional) profile and/or build on it online;
- raise awareness of her current areas of focus, creating opportunities for conversation/collaboration.
Twitter is a simple networking tool which works on the sharing of information as currency. It is a public aspect to the chief exec’s profile that enables people to identify and connected with her online. When the chief exec is identifiable on Twitter and using it effectively she and the organisation appears more engaged, transparent and authentic. Not being identifiable on Twitter and using it effectively means a chief exec increasingly runs the risk of appearing out-of-touch or unwilling to present themselves publicly for some reason.
Using Twitter effectively requires time and dedication and doesn’t yield evident results immediately. It can take a while to find your feet and establish a useful network but Twitter becomes more meaningful, the more you use it. In order to develop a meaningful network, the chief exec must be active on Twitter, frequently tweeting links to news and developments in her field – a public demonstration that she is in touch. Other Twitter users will then follow her because she is demonstrating that she’s an authority in her field and her tweets are therefore more credible. When someone contacts the chief exec on Twitter, she should respond publicly where possible, because this demonstrates that she is engaging outside of any professional bubble.
Building a meaningful network on Twitter is a worthwhile investment for when the chief exec has a message to communicate. If she tweets a link to a new blog post, for example, her following will help circulate the message within any other networks that have a stake.
Used effectively, Twitter also offers a personalised filter for information/media – you should follow people who tweet content that makes your Timeline a relevant and useful knowledge-pool, a ‘go-to’ source of information/media, and/or could provide a meaningful answer to a question if you tweeted it.
LinkedIn is a professional social network that makes it very easy to find and (re)connect with anyone you have had a direct professional connection with. As with Twitter, these people are likely to help spread a message when you have something to communicate.
While there are various things one can do with LinkedIn, a great advantage is it requires minimal time and effort to maintain once your profile is complete. In the very least, LinkedIn ensures you always have a very simple way to contact anyone in your extended professional network, as they do you.
It also provides a standard professional ‘About Me’ webpage and makes your name more searchable, which raises your online profile and creates more opportunities for people to find out about you and your work.
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.’
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.