How has 2010 been for you? An exciting year with new challenges and opportunities? A year to remember or one to forget? For many years I have reflected at the end of the year on highs and lows, and as always this year has brought plenty of each. However, I will remember 2010 as the year I met SO many great people and the power of social media to maintain and build relationships.
As I shared in my last blog, it is two years since I “jumped ship” from the security (or so it seemed at the time!) of my job in local government. It has been a huge learning curve, starting up my own business and producing physical products (increasingly rare in the “knowledge economy”).
I find life very interesting. I am invited to demonstrate my Whose Shoes? board game at conferences and events around the country, often running workshops. Each one is different (which is brilliant) but the bit I really love is meeting other people who are equally passionate about personalisation in health and social care. I see how the commitment and drive of sometimes just a few people is able to enthuse and motivate many more.
And then there is the technology side. Until recently I didn’t even have a mobile phone or it was always off – kept selfishly for my own “emergencies”. Now I am the proud owner of a Blueberry (no product placement here!) and have special Apps to tweet and blog. A year ago I didn’t know these existed – my kids are in shock.
So what have the “people” highlights been? – always difficult to select a few so huge apologies to others I would like to mention but I have selected some examples of different types of “connections” that give a taste of this year’s social media journey….
Barbara Dalby and Sharon Terry – a complete act of faith by all of us. Passionate about personalisation, we had not even physically met until the first night of the “Thinking outside the box” conference in Gateshead – the next day we were pitching to the “Dragons” and then the 250-strong audience to win funding to do a Whose Shoes? project to empower service users and carers (see earlier blog). Hugely rewarding on both sides.
Philippa Codd – Philippa was already an enthusiastic and imaginative Whose Shoes? customer. We ran a Whose Shoes? workshop together at the Commissioning & Contracting conference in Derbyshire. New in 2010 is the “Personalisation Group to revolutionise social care” which we co-manage on LinkedIn. Philippa chose the name for the group – she doesn’t do anything by halves – love it!
Shirley Ayres – passionate about connecting people and ideas – generous with her help in getting people “up and running” with social media – she certainly helped me. Shirley gave me a featured Guest blog on her website to showcase my response to the new Vision for Adult Social Care. This was before I started blogging myself. – ages ago, it seems (but in fact mid-November!) We had a long phone call and shared many ideas – I love it when an “e-person” becomes a real person!
Pete Woodbridge from Coventry University produced my Whose Shoes? DVD (video brings things alive!) – incredibly creative and unassuming. Others, I haven’t yet met but feel that I know through their social media presence… for example, Gary Grainger already a Whose Shoes? customer but now also as a “cup cake with a moustache” who contributes really perceptive thoughts on our LinkedIn group and has another life as a blues musician – (I love it when people are “human” – it’s not ALL about work… – go ENGLAND #Ashes!); Louise Kidney (@LoulouK) breaking new ground and involving the community so effectively in Blackburn with Darwen. Disappointed Louise was not able to come to the Local by Social event in Coventry – hoping our paths cross in 2011.
I have learned about @ and #hastags and RTS and DMs on Twitter (sounds geeky but dead easy!) Still loads to learn but I am also joining a “blog once a week” postaweek2011 challenge so onwards and upwards. Please encourage me with comments and likes, by subscribing and letting me know anything you’d like me to talk about!
Wishing everyone a happy, peaceful New Year where we use all means possible to work together to enable every one of us to have real choice and control and a chance to fulfil our potential.