On the 12th January I travelled to Facebook HQ in Covent Garden , London, for Councillor Camp.
It was the first Councillor Camp for Social Media in the world, apparently ! It’s always nice to be at the launch of something that is exciting and new.
I was greeted by a lovely buffet breakfast and coffee. I got my Rosie badge, proceeded to sit at the front, my eyesight isn’t what it used to be.
My fellow Cllrs then began to arrive. I chatted with Cllrs from other parts of the country, from different political parties. It was a cross party event.
The event began at 10am with
Dominic introduced us to what the day would behold. We would have speakers first, but they were only allowed 10 mins each, otherwise we might fall asleep ( I’m guessing). Then we would have an un conference. I admit I have never heard of this before. Basically we set the agenda for the day. We think of ideas and base group discussion around those ideas or questions.
For some reason when Dominic said about an un conference, I immediately linked it to an un birthday , thus thinking of the Mad Hatters Tea Party, then thought of Alice in Wonderland. Which I guess connects to a Looking glass, which kinda is what Social Media is, get my drift. Ermmm, ok maybe not. I shall continue…
First to speak was Facebook, and guess what they were speaking about – Twitter. Aha – gotcha.
Elizabeth from Facebook spoke about Facebook pages for Local Govt, gave us examples.
The part that interested me the most was how the Police had become great users of Social Media. They were leading the way in the public sector.
I enjoyed this part of the talk about the cloud words that had been formed by their use of Social Media. I like the slogan “Where local government meets people”
I also thought an excellent idea that had been done by a Local Authority in Denmark was to have a Facebook page showing the residents what their Council Tax money was spent on. I think its important for the residents to know where their money is being spent. Fascinating to see how Local Authorities around Europe had been creative with their Facebook pages.
The next few speakers discussed how they used Twitter in their Council meetings, they had hashtags that could be followed by residents, who could then follow the committee’s on line. Could follow the budget. I thought this was another creative way to engage the public in the process of Local Govt.
Skype was also being used by a local Cllr to engage with his residents.
After we had heard from the speakers, each one interesting, with different ideas, approaches. Time had arrived for the un conference. We gathered our thoughts on post it notes, placed them on a board. Areas where allocated where we could discuss the topics, themes, ideas and questions.
Firstly I found myself in Facebook group, where we discussed how we could use Facebook as a Cllr. Nice to hear
speak about her involvement in the Obama on line campaign. I have heard @Merici speak before at a Labour Women’s Network event, I enjoy listening to her style, its quick, to the point and precise. No wonder Obama’s campaign was a success with her help.
What was clear from this discussion was to be authentic on line. This I have always been, so I completely understand why this is important. I could talk about this for ages but maybe that needs another blog.
Next discussion group I was in was about trying to get elderly into Social Media. My way of tackling this, was to try to encourage elderly people to have tablets, if they can afford to. I think tablets are user friendly. I know our more mature Councillors enjoy working from their tablets. It was also suggested that maybe elderly members of the community could go into schools, so that younger people could help them with iPads, tablets etc…Which is also a way of elderly members in society being able to tell the younger people their stories. A way of engaging two generations.
We did all agree though, that with closures of Libraries and cut backs, would be increasingly difficult for elderly people to access the internet, if they hadn’t got it at home. It can be an extra cost that many elderly cannot afford.
Next discussion group was about App’s but this soon turned into a conversation about why women aren’t engaging on social media, as they may have done in the past. I was the one who changed the subject -oophs – also this is another blog subject I must blog about !
Final discussion was about Social Media and how we can make it better for Cllr’s to use, encourage Cllr’s to use it. This of course allowed me to explain my story that I came into politics via Social Media, Twitter. So I come from the completely different perspective because I was on Twitter before I joined a political party.
I found it a productive day on the whole. There are many ideas that I took away with me that I hope to share with fellow Cllr’s in my City. Interesting that some Councils were far more advanced than others on Social Media. We all felt that we didn’t get enough support in this area, its confusing at times. I guess it is evolving.
Vive la Revolution
Plus thank you to everyone who organised the event ….
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