The power of Twitter – Take 2… Come and join us!

I have written before about the Power of Twitter. It is one of my most popular blogposts.

Even my 91 year old Mum (aka @Gills_Mum) is tempted to get involved. Slightly. On a good day…

What I love about Twitter is (well, lots of things really) the fact that it gives a voice to individuals with something to say. No hierarchies; no rules; just real-time engagement. If people like what you say, they follow you; if they don’t, they don’t follow you. But if you have something to say, you will find like-minded followers. Simple.

It has been fascinating to watch Twitter move from ‘fringe’ to ‘mainstream.’ OK, not exactly mainstream but at least provoking curiosity.

As recently as a couple of years ago, people like Shirley Ayres (@Shirleyayres) and Dan Slee (@danslee) were voices in the wilderness, telling everyone about the power of social media in the public sector but with few people really ‘getting it’. It felt VERY uncomfortable to be tweeting from certain conferences and there was no question of having a conference #hashtag.

Most conferences now do have a #hashtag. I particularly love it when the permission (nay, encouragement) to tweet is given by someone who clearly hasn’t got a clue how it all works. It is mentioned as if he / she is giving permission to naughty school children to pass notes under the desk.

Against this backdrop, congratulations to Pete Jackson for running a social media surgery for people at the Spring ADASS conference.

I was surprised to learn that journalists are not allowed at the conference (openness, transparency?) so the Twitter ‘leaks’ are … scintillating.

But it is particularly satisfying to see the growing engagement happening at the Department of Health; Anna Hepburn is doing a great job, flying the flag for social media. You can almost hear the kicking and screaming as she and like-minded colleagues attempt to drag a few luddites along in the process 🙂

Anna has written a great blog this week about digital engagement. She gives a special mention to both #dementiachallengers, our home-grown hashtag, and the excellent dementiachallengers.com website set up by Lee. Lee cares for her Mum who is living with dementia. Lee spotted a huge gap and filled it by signposting carers to a wealth of practical information and support.  She did something about it… which is what #dementiachallengers do.

I threw out a direct challenge to Anna Hepburn to ask a Twitter-sceptic with a key role in dementia policy to join Twitter and see if “we #dementiachallengers” can bring them round. As a very good sport, Anna has accepted. So watch this space… 🙂

It is refreshing also to see the amazing chats that now abound in the sector, giving a forum for like-minded colleagues to come together and discuss ideas. 8pm on a Tuesday is a busy time for health and social care related chats. People using Twitter in their own time to engage with colleagues and see how they can improve services.

There are too many to mention and this blog is just intended as a light-hearted commentary. There are others far better placed to give you a comprehensive guide.

But lots of practical support is available. For example I have just spotted this useful guide to social media on Slideshare, shared by Helen Bevan (@HelenBevan), Chief of Service Transformation, NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement:

Helen Bevan was also the catalyst behind the fab NHS Change Day initiative, which I featured in a recent blog.

And I am always delighted to find tweets that support my Whose Shoes?® concept. We need to of engage everyone from grassroots upwards so that they can show passion for improvement and peer support, rather than sitting passively (or worse) in an oppressive,  top-down culture.

This week also saw the publication of “Leadership starts with me” by the National Skills Academy. What a great title that is. Leadership is key: we all have a role to play.

And of course, whether you like it or not, social media exists.
You WILL be talked about.

Do you want to sit on the sidelines or join the conversation?

Gill Phillips  www.nutshellcomms.co.uk  @whoseshoes

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About Gill Phillips - Whose Shoes?

Passionate about personalisation in health & social care. Creator of Whose Shoes? - an imaginative approach to helping people work together to improve lives. http://nutshellcomms.co.uk
This entry was posted in Blogs, co-production, dementia, education, Gill's Mum, personalisation, public sector, social care, social media and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The power of Twitter – Take 2… Come and join us!

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