Tag Archives: twitter

5 things for public services to think about when using Periscope

How might public services use Periscope? In this guest post, Will Barker, Project Support Officer (Social Media & Digital), 1000 Lives Improvement, looks at ways that we could use the app.

Periscope

Persicope is a new live streaming app that is linked with Twitter – it’s just over a month old and already it has been sighted as a game-changer in the way social media effects broadcast news, and the next big platform to come along since Twitter.

It works simply by choosing what you want to broadcast, setting a broadcast stream title and clicking ‘broadcast’ this then links with your Twitter stream and your twitter followers can join the broadcast, as well as anyone around the world who is interested in what you are showing.

As with all new technology and social platforms, we have to take these statements with a pinch of salt – many thought that Vine was the app to tick this box, but it has taken a different path to what was first expected. Nevertheless, it is worth exploring how the public sector could potentially use this live streaming app to their benefit, particularly whilst there is still a lot of intrigue around it.

Forums, events and conferences

This could be one of your own, or one that you are attending/ have a stand at. Often, the aim is to ‘join the conversation’ using the conference hashtag. Perhaps Periscope could be used to shape a conversation or create new ones, beyond tweeting each other. Want to discuss key topics and highlights from the day, why not set up a broadcast that does just that, almost like a panel session. At 1000 Lives Improvement (@1000LivesPlus), we did exactly this. At a recent conference, we gave highlights and interviews with our staff via Periscope about what learning they had taken away from sessions, we think it gave an extra element to those following us on Twitter who couldn’t be there.

Question and Answer

Keep getting the same questions asked via your social media channels, or simply have the opportunity to get some key experts in their field in the same room? Through live streaming via Periscope you have an opportunity to answer important questions in more depth and more immediately. You must keep in mind that, though, that if you do open yourself up for a Q&A session, you are open for all types of questions, so it’s worth setting some house rules in place, for example: ‘today we’ll be discussing these set topics, for answers around other topics, you can reach us here’.

Important news

More and more we are seeing people, news outlets and organisations turning to Twitter to break important news. Why not use Periscope? You can keep control exactly what you’re saying, put it across in more than 140 characters and still get the benefit of reaching your audience online. It’s worth noting that with the size of audience that Periscope is bringing, and with it being so new, this type of communication shouldn’t be in isolation, as the majority of the audience is likely to miss it.

Open meetings

Got a planning meeting that isn’t sensitive and would really benefit from input outside of your organisation? Why not open it up to get the thoughts of people across the world, you never know; someone’s suggestion could be the start of your solution.

Showing the work being done/getting behind the scenes

Behind the scenes has been used a lot on Periscope already. Whether it’s the BBC showing behind the scenes of The Voice UK Live Finals, various news organisations giving behind the scenes footage of their election coverage or Cardiff Council giving viewers a guided tour of the RHS Flower Show before it opened. Giving your audience something they wouldn’t get anywhere else is a real perk of Periscope, so why not think about how that could translate to your organisation or project?

Remember what’s out there. Take a look around.

Periscope may be new and exciting to many, but remember that live streaming has been around for many years. It’s worth taking a look around at what else is out there to make sure you are using the right platform for your requirements. With periscope only being (currently) available on iOS devices, linking with Twitter and broadcasting in portrait, is it the right platform to reach your audience, or would other live streaming products like Bambuser fit better? Not to mention the rival to Periscope: the live streaming app called Meerkat, but that’s a whole other story.

There is plenty out there for you to read about Periscope (and Meerkat) for you to make your own mind up, so go and have a look – and if you can, start experimenting with how you might use it in your organisation.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on using Periscope in the public sector, or how you’ve got on if you already have used it. Leave a comment below or tweet me @willdotbarker.

5 peth i wasanaethau cyhoeddus eu hystyried wrth ddefnyddio Periscope

Sut gall gwasanaethau cyhoeddus ddefnyddio Periscope? Yn y blog gwadd yma, mae Will Barker, Swyddog Cefnogi Prosiect (Cyfryngau Cymdeithasol a Digidol), 1000 o Fywydau a Mwy, yn edrych ar sut gallwn ni ddefnyddio’r ap.

Periscope

Ap ffrydio byw newydd yw Persicope sy’n gysylltiedig â Twitter. Dim ond ychydig dros fis oed yw’r ap ac eisoes mae wedi cael ei ddatgan fel un sy’n newid y gêm o ran y ffordd y mae cyfryngau cymdeithasol yn effeithio ar newyddion darlledu. Honnir mai hwn yw’r llwyfan mawr nesaf i ddod i’r amlwg ar ôl Twitter.

Mae’n gweithio’n syml drwy ddewis beth rydych chi eisiau ei ddarlledu, rhoi teitl i ffrwd ddarlledu, a chlicio ar ‘darlledu’. Wedyn mae hwn yn cysylltu â’ch ffrwd Twitter ac mae eich dilynwyr ar Twitter yn gallu ymuno yn y darllediad, yn ogystal ag unrhyw un ym mhob cwr o’r byd sydd â diddordeb yn yr hyn rydych chi’n ei ddangos.

Fel gyda phob technoleg a llwyfan cymdeithasol newydd, mae’n rhaid i ni gymryd pinsiad o halen gyda’r datganiadau hyn. Roedd llawer yn meddwl mai Vine oedd yr ap i dicio’r bocs yma, ond mae wedi dilyn llwybr gwahanol i’r hyn a ddisgwylid i ddechrau. Er hynny, mae’n werth edrych ar sut gallai’r sector cyhoeddus wneud defnydd o’r ap ffrydio byw hwn a’i fanteision, yn enwedig tra bod llawer o chwilfrydedd a dirgelwch yn ei gylch o hyd.

Fforymau, digwyddiadau a chynadleddau

Gall y rhain fod yn cael eu cynnal gennych chi, neu gallech fod yn eu mynychu/mynd â stondin iddynt. Yn aml, y nod yw ‘ymuno yn y sgwrs’ gan ddefnyddio hashnod y gynhadledd. Efallai y gellid defnyddio Periscope i siapio sgyrsiau neu greu rhai newydd, y tu hwnt i anfon negeseuon trydar at eich gilydd. Eisiau trafod pynciau allweddol ac uchafbwyntiau’r dydd? Beth am sefydlu darllediad sy’n gwneud hynny, fel sesiwn panel bron? Yn 1000 o Fywydau a Mwy (@1000LivesPlus), fe wnaethon ni hyn. Mewn cynhadledd ddiweddar, cyflwynwyd uchafbwyntiau a chyfweliadau gyda’n staff drwy gyfrwng Periscope, am yr hyn roeddent wedi’i ddysgu yn y sesiynau. Rydyn ni’n meddwl ei fod yn cynnig elfen ychwanegol i’r rhai sy’n ein dilyn ni ar Twitter ac a oedd yn methu bod yno.

Hawl i Holi

Dal i gael yr un cwestiynau ar eich sianelau cyfryngau cymdeithasol? Neu ddim ond cyfle i gael rhai arbenigwyr allweddol yn eu maes yn yr un ystafell? Drwy ffrydio byw ar Periscope, mae gennych chi gyfle i ateb cwestiynau pwysig yn ddyfnach ac yn gynt. Mae’n rhaid i chi gofio, er hynny, os ydych chi’n cynnig eich hun yn agored ar gyfer sesiwn Hawl i Holi, eich bod yn agored i bob math o gwestiynau. Felly mae’n werth rhoi ambell reol yn ei lle, er enghraifft: ‘heddiw fe fyddwn ni’n trafod y pynciau penodol yma ac os ydych chi eisiau atebion i bynciau eraill, mae posib cysylltu â ni yma’.

Newyddion pwysig

Fwy a mwy, rydyn ni’n gweld pobl, sefydliadau a chanolfannau newyddion yn troi at Twitter i rannu newyddion pwysig. Beth am ddefnyddio Periscope? Bydd posib i chi reoli beth yn union rydych yn ei ddweud, ei gyfleu mewn mwy na 140 o lythrennau a dal i elwa o gyrraedd eich cynulleidfa ar-lein. Mae’n werth nodi, o ran maint cynulleidfa Periscope, a chan ei fod mor newydd, na ddylai’r math yma o gyfathrebu fod yn ynysig, gan fod mwyafrif y gynulleidfa’n debygol o’i golli.

Cyfarfodydd agored

Oes gennych chi gyfarfod cynllunio nad yw’n sensitif ac a fyddai wir yn elwa o gyfraniad o’r tu allan i’ch sefydliad? Beth am ei wneud yn agored i gael barn pobl o bob cwr o’r byd? Pwy a ŵyr? – fe allai awgrym rhywun fod yn ddechrau ar eich ateb.

Dangos y gwaith yn cael ei wneud/cael mynd y tu ôl i’r llenni

Mae tu ôl i’r llenni wedi cael llawer o ddefnydd ar Periscope eisoes. Mae’r BBC wedi dangos beth sy’n digwydd y tu ôl i’r llenni yn Rowndiau Terfynol byw The Voice UK, mae sefydliadau newyddion amrywiol wedi bod yn dangos beth oedd yn digwydd y tu ôl i’r llenni wrth iddynt ddarlledu am yr etholiad, ac aeth Cyngor Caerdydd â’i wylwyr ar daith dywys o amgylch Sioe Flodau’r RHS cyn iddi agor. Mae rhoi i’ch cynulleidfa rywbeth na fyddent yn ei gael yn unrhyw le arall yn un o wir fanteision Periscope. Felly beth am feddwl sut gallai hynny fod o ddefnydd i’ch sefydliad neu eich prosiect chi?

Cofiwch beth sydd ar gael. Astudiwch y ddarpariaeth.

Efallai bod Periscope yn newydd ac yn gyffrous i lawer, ond cofiwch fod ffrydio byw wedi bodoli ers sawl blwyddyn. Mae’n werth edrych beth arall sydd ar gael, i wneud yn siŵr eich bod yn defnyddio’r llwyfan priodol ar gyfer eich gofynion chi. Gyda Periscope ar gael ar ddyfeisiadau iOS yn unig (ar hyn o bryd), gan gysylltu â Twitter a darlledu ar ffurf portread, ai dyma’r llwyfan addas i gyrraedd eich cynulleidfa chi? Ynteu a fyddai cynhyrchion ffrydio byw eraill fel Bambuser yn well? Cofiwch hefyd am wrthwynebydd mawr Periscope: yr ap ffrydio byw o’r enw Meerkat, ond stori arall ydi honno.

Mae digon o ddeunydd darllen am Periscope (a Meerkat) ar gael er mwyn i chi wneud penderfyniad, felly ewch ati i ddarllen. Ac os gallwch chi, dechreuwch arbrofi gyda sut gellid ei ddefnyddio yn eich sefydliad.

Fe fyddwn i wrth fy modd yn clywed eich barn am ddefnyddio Periscope yn y sector cyhoeddus, neu sut brofiad gawsoch chi os ydych chi wedi’i ddefnyddio eisoes. Gadewch sylw isod neu anfonwch neges drydar ata’ i @willdotbarker.

#scrusm – sharing scrutiny practice online

Scrutiny

We received fantastic feedback on the Scrutiny in the Spotlight Conference that we jointly held with the Centre for Public Scrutiny, Welsh Local Government Association, Welsh Government and Cardiff Business School last year, and a big part of its success was the networking aspect. Councillors, Officers and wider support organisations each had the chance to share issues, but also good practice in their area.

But getting people together from every corner of Wales (and beyond) is an expensive business. We’re looking to continue that networking and information sharing by taking it online.

#scrusm

At 6:30pm on Tuesday 16 September we’ll be taking part in a Twitter chat on scrutiny that’s being facilitated by Dave Mckenna of City and County of Swansea. You can take part in this chat by using the hashtag #scrusm, where the discussion will be centred around getting the public involved.

Virginia Hawkins and Kevin Davies of the National Assembly for Wales ran a workshop on the topic at last November’s event, where they shared their toolkit on involving the community. In this chat we’re looking to hear about any tools, resources or approaches that councillors or officers are using, any issues they’re facing and good things that they’re doing.

We recognise that not everyone is on Twitter so we will be producing a Storify to capture the tweets so that everyone gets to see what happened, just like we do at all our events.

If you’re yet to take to Twitter but think that this might be for you, there are some helpful online guides like this one from Mashable and useful videos like the one below from Hootsuite. There are also some resources on Twitter chats that can help you get to grips with the format.

So whether you’re looking to learn more about how others are approaching their scrutiny, or whether you’d like to share your experiences, we’d love to have you involved in the chat. Because by helping each other to avoid what doesn’t work and sharing what does, we can all play a part in improving public services.

Dyfrig

Elect Social: your handy cut-and-paste social media purdah guidelines

This was originally posted by Dan Slee on his blog. We have reblogged this in order to share it further and make it available in the Welsh language, as it’s a really useful resource and a fantastic guide for Local Authorities in Wales.

Elect Social / Etholi'n Gymdeithasol

Gone are the press releases from politicians and in comes quotes from officers. Why? To ensure that the council cannot be accused of political bias in the run up to polling day.

It’s been around for decades and local government comms teams have got a pretty good grasp of what this entails. It means under The Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity (Local Government Act 1986) that newsletters, press releases, conferences, badges and web pages are affected.

The code says:

The period between the notice of an election and the election itself should preclude proactive publicity in all its forms of candidates and other politicians involved directly in the election.

Publicity should not deal with controversial issues or report views, proposals or recommendations in such a way that identifies them with individual members or groups of members.

However, it is acceptable for the authority to respond in appropriate circumstances to events and legitimate service enquiries provided that their answers are factual and not party political.

Members holding key political or civic positions should be able to comment in an emergency or where there is a genuine need for a member level response to an important event outside the authority’s control.

Proactive events arranged in this period should not involve members likely to be standing for election.

What this means is that the council’s resources must not be or even appear to an observer to be used for party political ends in this period of heightened political sensitivity.

Six golden rules during Purdah

  1. No publicity will be given to matters which are politically controversial.
  2. The general presumption will be that no references will be made to individual politicians in press releases (except where there is a valid emergency as set out below)
  3. Great caution will be exercised before undertaking any significant media exercise unless it can be demonstrated that this was included in the forward diary before the election was called.
  4. No photographs of candidates in the election will be issued
  5. Before any request for council photographs and other materials is considered, enquiries will be made as to the use to which they are to be put and an appropriate restriction on use imposed if supplied.
  6. The position of Mayor as the figurehead of the authority is different and material will be issued, providing it is not of a political nature.

But what teams struggle with is social media. How does this affect the Twitter stream? Here’s a cut-out-and-keep guidance for people who operate council social media channels (disclaimer: check it with your legal team first).

Twitter

  1. Please explain that as a council channel of communication you are governed by Purdah in a period before an election. It may be helpful to tweet a link to an explanation of Purdah for guidance.
  2. Do not retweet political parties, politicians or political opinion.
  3. Do not tweet on matters which are politically controversial.
  4. Do not tweet images of political parties, politicians or subjects which are politically controversial.
  5. Do not stage a significant Twitter-based campaign unless it can be demonstrated that this was included in the forward diary before the election was called.
  6. Tweets by and about the Mayor may be retweeted as long as they are not of a political nature.
  7. In exceptional circumstances please first seek permission from the communications unit to tweet or retweet a comment by a politician during Purdah.

Facebook

  1. Please explain that as a council channel of communication you are governed by Purdah in a period before an election.
  2. Do not post or share updates from political parties, politicians or political opinion.
  3. Do not post or share images from political parties, politicians or political opinion.
  4. Monitor your page and delete any content which is politically controversial with an explanation that this has been done so because of the rules that govern Purdah linking to this advice.
  5. Tweets by and about the Mayor may be retweeted as long as they are not of a political nature.
  6. Do not stage a significant Facebook-based campaign unless it can be demonstrated that this was included in the forward diary before the election was called.
  7. In exceptional circumstances please first seek permission from the communications unit to tweet or retweet a comment by a politician during Purdah.

YouTube

  1. Please explain that as a council channel of communication you are governed by Purdah in a period before an election.
  2. Do not post or share updates from political parties, politicians or political opinion.
  3. Do not post or share images from political parties, politicians or political opinion.
  4. Monitor your page and delete any content which is politically controversial with an explanation that this has been done so because of the rules that govern Purdah linking to this advice.
  5. Videos by or about the Mayor may be added as long as they are not of a political nature.
  6. Do not stage a significant YouTube-based campaign unless it can be demonstrated that this was included in the forward diary before the election was called.
  7. In exceptional circumstances please first seek permission from the communications unit to add a YouTube clip by a politician during Purdah.

Third party social media profiles

Council staff who update third party social media profiles as part of their job are governed by Purdah. These profiles include business partnership profiles which the council supports.

There are two options:

  1. Opt out: For the duration of Purdah hand over ALL admin to a non-council member of the partnership and allow them to add Purdah-restricted content that council staff are unable to post. Resume adding content and managing after the election.
  2. Opt in: Council employees can continue to add content or share admin duties but ALL content is governed by Purdah restrictions.

Flickr

  1. Please explain that as a council channel of communication you are governed by Purdah in a period before an election.
  2. Do not post or share pictures from political parties, politicians or political opinion.
  3. Monitor your page and delete any content which is politically controversial with an explanation that this has been done so because of the rules that govern Purdah linking to this advice.
  4. Images by or about the Mayor may be added as long as they are not of a political nature.
  5. Do not stage a significant Flickr-based campaign unless it can be demonstrated that this was included in the forward diary before the election was called.
  6. In exceptional circumstances please first seek permission from the communications unit to add a YouTube clip by a politician during Purdah.
  7. Please disable the ability to download images of politicians during Purdah.

Creative commons credit
Election van: https://www.flickr.com/photos/48600108001@N01/463965443/

303 Seconds

The last Friday lunchtime in January saw a group of people at the Wales Audit Offices in Cardiff and try something they had never done before……  in 5 minutes tell everyone else in the room something interesting.

That was about as far as the instructions went. The idea was loosely based upon the 300 Seconds structure.

So what happened?

Well, seven people did a turn and covered topics that were diverse, but all seemed to fit together and flow. The formats varied, there were slide presentations, drawing on a flip chart, speaking without notes and an example of the ‘fast walking with a piece of paper’ as a meditation technique.

Everyone thought it was a useful experience with some information and ideas that they can take back and use personally or in their work. There is a plan to do something similar in a few months’ time; in the meanwhile, here is a brief summary of each of the 303 Second presentations (provided by each of the seven presenters).

303 Seconds / Eiliad

1. Cardiff NHS Hackday Weekend 26/27 January 2014 (#nhshd).  Chris Bolton

This was a gallop through how the 36 hours of the Cardiff NHS Hackday worked and thoughts on some of the potential benefits and risks. There may be opportunities to apply elements of the approach to other parts of public services. Chris is working with the main organiser Dr Anne Marie Cunningham to look at the legacy and impact. Keep an eye on this blog for updates or Chris’ own blog.

2. Me and Twitter.  Helen Thomas

Helen is the Professional Head of Occupational Therapy in Learning Disabilities in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and spoke about her personal Tweeting activity. In her own words:

“This was linked to a presentation I made to my Directorate about me attending Academi Wales Summer School in 2013. Thinking about positive learning psychology: understand what drives you, re-craft your life, work, love, play and friendship around your top character strengths.

I looked at the tweets I made about job and realised where my passion for work lies, service user and staff involvement, ‘all you need is love’. It’s so important to have passion about what you do and this is shown through me on twitter.”

3. Keep Moving!  James Moore

Moving is really important for two reasons:

  • Hard exercise stimulates brain fertiliser and makes us sharper
  • Seeing, hearing and feeling the world, from different places helps us better understand others.

Both of these things make us more successful!

You can find out more about the Walk and Explore programme James runs on the Academi Wales site, or @Explorewalk on Twitter.

4 . Mindfulness and Authenticity.  Moira Morgan

Staying with the Keep Moving! Theme, Moira did actually do a demonstration of the ‘fast walking with a piece of paper’, meditation technique. A skill well worth developing.

Mindfulness supports authenticity by being present with colleagues, family and friends. Its knowing that this is enough and, you’re enough.

A slide presentation from Moira’s courses can be found here on the Academi website.

5. 5 Tips for International Relations. Ena Lloyd

Since her childhood on the Ceredigion Coast Ena has held the ambition to swim in as many of the Worlds seas and oceans as she could. This has led to epic journeys through over 50 countries and she hasn’t stopped yet.

As a woman travelling alone she has developed an approach to surviving and thriving while you are thousands of miles from home.

You can read about some of Ena’s travels here.

6. FISH! Philosophy. Jackie Parsons. 

Improving organisational culture through the FISH! Philosophy.  John Christensen developed the FISH philosopy in 1998, based on his experience of the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Washington State, USA.

The philosophy includes; ‘Play’, ‘Being There’, ‘Make Their Day’ and ‘Choose Your Attitude’.

It has been adopted by many companies and organisations to improve Team working and customer focuses public services.

7. EXIT GAMES. Bethan Johnson.

The ideas of; creativity, discovery and flow influence from the psychology of engagement form the basis of the approach developed by Mihaly Csikszentmihali.

He has developed a new learning experience in Budapest called EXIT GAMES. This involves live action puzzles which people interact with as a group to develop learning, mastery and flow.

The session was an eclectic mix which did flow and provided some practical learning which people could use individually or in the work place.

The Year Scrutiny became Social – Scrutiny Conference Social Media Campaign

Scrutiny

Back in June 2013, the ‘Scrutiny in the Spotlight’ Conference was launched.  If I am honest, the use of social media was not top of my list of how we should share information relating to the conference. The @GoodPracticeWAO team (on behalf of the Conference Partners) encouraged me to support the use of social media as a means of sharing and raising awareness. How glad I am now!

While we were planning the social media campaign, we were conscious not to set too many aims, so we focused on the following:

  1. Encouraging the use of a variety of social media  to engage public sector colleagues.
  2. Raising awareness of the potential impact of scrutiny through the GPX blog; and
  3. Continue the sharing and learning between scrutiny colleagues.

Whilst these were our key aims, we were very clear we also didn’t want delegates to view the conference as a ‘one off’ event on the 28 November. In our eyes, the conference started (through knowledge sharing) in the first week of September, when I posted our first scrutiny blog. We don’t envisage the conference ending until February/March 2014 as we will be continuing to share the outputs of the conference on a weekly basis.   

We have learned from previous experience that when you want to get the right group of people together at a conference, plenty of notice is essential.  Particularly when many potential delegates have committees planned at least six months ahead.

Alan Morris

However, when we launched the conference diary marker back in June 2013, we could never have anticipated that conference would be so popular. By the beginning of September we were over-subscribed and had a waiting list for delegate places. This also meant we had a ready-made scrutiny community in place to communicate with.

Prior to the conference, our social media campaign was mainly focused around a weekly blog on the Good Practice Exchange WordPress blog.  We e-mailed the blog link weekly and used Twitter to promote the blog more widely via the hashtag ‘#scrutiny13’. In the final run-up during the November, we also tweeted daily messages to heighten awareness of the conference and encourage knowledge sharing. Once we had a half a dozen blogs in place, we used Pintrest to promote the visual elements of the blogs and again tweeted them out.

Our main social media focus of the conference day itself was Twitter. We pulled together a ‘Twitter Team’, who were allocated to specific workshops and plenary sessions. Their brief was to share information with colleagues who were not able to attend the conference and to generate dialogue with other tweeters at the conference.  All tweets were on the hashtag #scrutiny13 (which you can see on Storify). This was my first experience of a ‘live’ Twitter campaign at an event. After a stuttering start I soon got into the swing of picking up on and tweeting key messages and phrases from speakers and delegates.

We also set up a filming schedule on the day of the conference where all plenary and workshop speakers shared the purpose of their session and key messages they wanted to share. This meant that, following the conference, we could develop a short presentation which combined the main elements of the event captured via video, social media and presentation slides. This material provides a valuable knowledge-sharing resource both for delegates  and for colleagues who were not able to attend.  We have included a link to a presentation slide pack that delegates can adapt to suit their own needs by including key messages they took away from the conference.

We will continue to share the outputs via the Good Practice Exchange blog, which we really encourage colleagues to share and comment on.

So what have we learnt from this social media campaign?

  1. Social media is a free and accessible way to publicise events and to share knowledge.
  2. We are still learning as we go along the social media journey. We can clearly see the benefit of the campaign, as every time we e-mail blogs to the scrutiny community, more colleagues sign up to automatically receiving our blogs.  The same can be said for the number of delegates who follow us on Twitter.
  3. Not that many colleagues actually comment directly on our blogs; but we know that many people read our blogs – the stats below tell the story.  Also, many colleagues refer to the blog in conversations or on e-mail.  We recognise that we are playing the long game here.
  4. On the day at least 82 delegates tweeted their thoughts and views using the #scrutiny13 hashtag. The use of the hashtag was essential to marshal and measure our social media impact.
  5. Their tweets reached up to  48,717 people across the UK and beyond.
  6. Social media is much more than an ‘instant and disposable’ medium. Tweets can be saved and used as a record of delegate perspectives on the day.
  7. Twitter’s 140 character limit forces you to focus on what is most important and distill it into a short and punchy message. I have to say my old English teacher would welcome the concept of Twitter as it is resurrecting the art of précis!
  8. We have been able to engage with scrutiny contributors from all over the UK (and wider), who have shared our messages and added to our knowledge.

So, was the social media campaign worth all the effort?

Most definitely! Not only did we get an instant understanding of what delegates were getting from the conference but, most importantly, we have contributed towards creating a longer term scrutiny community who are willing and able to share and learn from each other. Now that’s what I call Social!

Alan Morris

Social Scrutiny

Scrutiny

What, you may ask, is Huw Lloyd Jones thinking about in writing a blog that focuses mainly on the use of social media? Surely someone who is beginning to catch glimpses of the paradise of retirement through the mist must have something better to do with his time?

You may be right! I’ve been a Linked-In user for a while but I confess that, until recently, I’ve used it as an older person’s equivalent of an autograph book. My attempts to open a Facebook account were met, within seconds, by an avalanche of horrified texts between my grown-up children (though not addressed to me), followed soon after by an unequivocal Facebook Ban from my wife. ‘You’ll get yourself into trouble’, she said.

Huw Lloyd-Jones

So, when the Wales Audit Office decided to encourage its staff to use social media, I thought to myself, ‘Leave it to the youngsters’ (and the trendy-but-not-so-young)! When I saw that a session at a staff training day was devoted to Twitter, I was sceptical. But I duly turned up, listened and asked a few questions. What impressed me most, perhaps, was that, in practising our rudimentary skills, we got an instant (and witty) response from an only-just-ex Welsh Government Minister! I guess that this alerted me straight away to the influential power of social media!

To cut a long story short, as an open-minded (aka gullible) trainee, I signed up to Twitter. In doing so, I managed to delete everything on my Blackberry, but I got there in the end! I have no interest in what celebrities had for breakfast so I decided to focus mainly on following:

  • the six councils I work with; and
  • education stuff.

So what have I learned as a result of my ‘experiment’? First of all, a couple of generalities for anyone else who’s thinking about opening a Twitter account:

  • Even if you only follow a small number of other Twitter users, you could spend all day every day looking at what comes in. Get yourself something like Hootsuite that allows you to sort your incoming Tweets into different categories. It’s not like email – you can afford to miss lots of ‘messages’ because, if they’re important, someone will Retweet them.
  • You don’t need to send lots of Tweets. I’ve made some horrendous gaffes (particular apologies to @Snowded and @whatsthepont as well as anyone else I may have offended). Think carefully about how your not-so-carefully constructed 140 characters will appear to others before you light the blue touch paper and send the Tweet!

What about ‘my’ six councils? It was quite an eye-opener in terms of the differences between them in the way that they’re using Twitter. As an auditor, you’d expect me to introduce some data somewhere, so here are the ‘basic’ Twitter statistics for the six councils at the time of writing:

Council

Tweets

Following

Followers

A

1197

0

2735

B

2046

14

3402

C

6992

174

6597

D

3156

31

4097

E

1783

182

1646

F

6586

3078

5273

So what? I guess that the number of tweets reflects, to some extent, the length of time that the council has been using Twitter. Also, tweeting in both languages adds to the count (and engages more people, too). It’s interesting that the number of followers seems to match quite closely the number of tweets!

What caught my attention, though, was the number of other Twitter users that each council follows. Following lots of people and organisations means that you receive hundreds of tweets every day – time consuming, and possibly of little benefit! On the other hand, if you follow very few others, the only tweets you receive are those directed specifically to you. You miss out on what your partners are up to and on what the media and influential individuals and groups within the community have to say.

The variation in the type of information that councils tweet has also been fascinating. Some tend to tweet information about vacancies and things like unexpected school closures. Others use Twitter to proclaim good news stories and to advertise events that they are running, usually via links to the council’s website. Those that follow their partners often retweet information about their work. In my area, for example, the police make great use of Twitter and those councils that follow the police can significantly increase the audience for police tweets by passing on the message, as well as reinforcing the fact that the council and the police are working together closely.

Just one council so far has used Twitter to advertise an ongoing consultation – just think how many more people now know that the consultation is ‘live’ compared with the numbers that might have stumbled upon the information via the website! And another council has begun to hold ‘Twitter surgeries’ where Cabinet members respond to tweets from members of the public about their areas of responsibility. There hasn’t been a great response thus far, but what a great idea in terms of engaging with the public in a forum that’s open to anyone who’s interested!

Tweeting information about forthcoming committee meetings happens only rarely and inconsistently. Our recent work on scrutiny across Wales has identified that most councils feel that they could engage more effectively with the public in the way in which they hold decision-makers to account. Why not, therefore, take the opportunity to tell all those followers about meetings that will focus on important issues? Even better, why not use Twitter beforehand to allow people to express their views and to gauge public opinion? The potential is huge!

So, to quote an oft-used phrase, What’s the PONT?

  • You’re never too old to use social media, but think before you Tweet!
  • Councils vary hugely in the extent of their Twitter engagement and the nature of what they tweet.
  • The potential of social media such as Twitter to engage with the public is huge.
  • Councils’ scrutiny functions, in particular, could make much more use of social media to engage with the public and to reflect their views when holding decision-makers to account.

Huw

Personal use of social media

Social Media

Before starting my role here at the Wales Audit Office’s Good Practice Exchange, I’d always kept work related tweets separate from my personal account.

I always felt uneasy that I may bring shame upon my work colleagues by tweeting something inappropriate. But when I was fortunate enough to get this job, I realised that I faced losing a few contacts because this project didn’t have a Twitter account at the time (but does now). I decided to take the plunge and mix business with pleasure.

When I worked at WCVA I admired how my colleague Michelle Matheron managed to do what I’m just getting my head around now, by tweeting about the implications of Welsh politics for the third sector and (in her words) “girlie nonsense”. But the girlie nonsense she tweets gives a great context to her work. Working around politics isn’t just a job for Michelle, by following her it becomes clear that it’s an interest and a passion. The authenticity of her tweets adds weight to what she says, and also reminds you that you can engage with her directly.

At this point I still wasn’t entirely sure that I could be personal in a professional context and vice-versa, but since taking that step I’m very glad that I have. Having never previously worked around auditing, I’ve got a lot to learn. Twitter’s given me the chance to learn more about what Wales Audit Office staff do, and also get to know them as individuals. There are lots of great people worth following, but just for two examples it’s been great following Huw Lloyd-Jones, who’s been great at highlighting good practice in tweeting from local government in North Wales, and Mike Palmer, whose passion for sustainable development really shines through from his tweets.

Social media also gives people the opportunity to develop relationships with others, which poses some quite exciting possibilities for how public services relate to people.

By being on these platforms personally, we’re better equipped to know what effective tweeting looks like. The great thing is that there are lots of public services who are already using social media in this way, who are both personable and helpful. Organisations like Torfaen County Borough Council are interacting quickly, efficiently and in the medium of the person’s choice (in this case Twitter).

It’s become clear that organisations can’t continue to work the same way they did before social media. It’s clear that the way people access information from us is changing, as is the way we communicate. This great blog post from Comms 2.0 outlines why we need to change – because people want to hear from us in a language they can understand and relate to, in a personal way, where public services are people too.

Using social media personally is a great way to get to grips with what’s expected of an organisation. But more than that, by being on there as individuals, we’re also letting people know how our organisations work and how we reach the decisions we make and why we do what we do. As Tim Lloyd says in a great blog post for the Department for Business and Skills, “a face and a name, and a deep knowledge of a specific policy area, is far more appealing to our audiences than anonymous statements from a corporate account”. Whether this is true for everyone I’m not sure, but I can certainly say that personally I follow far more people than organisations.

Dyfrig

Defnydd personol o gyfryngau cymdeithasol

Social Media

Cyn dechreuais i’r swydd ‘ma yn Gyfnewidfa Arfer Dda Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru, roeddwn i’n cadw trydar gwaith ar wahân i drydar personol.

Roeddwn i wastad yn teimlo roedd yna bosibilrwydd byddwn i’n dod â gwarth ar fy nghydweithwyr trwy drydar rhywbeth amhriodol. Ond ar ôl i mi fod yn ddigon ffodus i dderbyn y swydd yma, fe wnes i sylweddoli roeddwn i’n debygol o golli cysylltiadau achos doedd dim cyfrif Twitter gan y prosiect ar y pryd (ond mae ‘na un nawr). Penderfynais i i gymysgu busnes gyda phleser.

Pan weithiais i yn WCVA, roeddwn i’n edmygu sut roedd fy nghydweithiwr i Michelle Matheron yn llwyddo i wneud hyn drwy drydar am wleidyddiaeth Cymru i’r trydydd sector a (yn ei geiriau hi) “girlie nonsense”. Ond mae’r “girlie nonsense” mae hi’n trydar yn rhoi cyd-destun i’w gwaith . Fe wnaeth e hefyd dangos i mi nad swydd yn unig oedd gweithio gyda gwleidyddiaeth Cymraeg i Michelle, ond yn hytrach roedd e’n ddiddordeb. Mae dilysrwydd ei thrydar yn ychwanegu pwysau i beth mae hi’n ddweud , ac mae’n atgoffa fi gallai ymgysylltu â hi yn uniongyrchol.

Ar yr adeg yma doeddwn i ddim yn siŵr byddai fi’n gallu fod yn bersonol mewn cyd-destun proffesiynol neu wneud y gwrthwyneb, ond ers cymryd y cam ‘ma rwy’n falch fy mod i wedi gwneud hynny. Does ‘da fi ddim cefndir mewn archwilio o gwbl, felly mae ‘da fi lot i ddysgu. Mae Twitter wedi rhoi’r cyfle i mi ddysgu mwy am beth mae staff Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru yn gwneud, ac mae fe hefyd wedi rhoi’r cyfle i mi ddod i nabod nhw fel unigolion. Mae llawer o bobl yn y Swyddfa sy’n werth dilyn, ond er mwyn rhoi dwy enghraifft dda i chi, mae’n werth dilyn Huw Lloyd-Jones, sydd wedi tynnu sylw at arferion trydar da mewn llywodraeth leol yng Ngogledd Cymru, a Mike Palmer, achos mae ei frwdfrydedd e ar gyfer datblygu cynaliadwy yn glir o’i drydar.

Mae cyfryngau cymdeithasol hefyd yn rhoi’r cyfle i ni ddatblygu perthnasau ag eraill, sy’n codi posibiliadau cyffrous ar gyfer sut mae gwasanaethau cyhoeddus yn ymwneud â phobl.

Rydyn ni mewn sefyllfa well i wybod beth trydar effeithiol yn edrych fel i ddinasyddion os ydym ar gyfryngau cymdeithasol yn bersonol. Y peth gwych yw bod llawer o wasanaethau cyhoeddus yn defnyddio cyfryngau cymdeithasol mewn modd personol, cyfeillgar a defnyddiol yn barod. Mae mudiadau fel Cyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Torfaen yn rhyngweithio yn gyflym, yn effeithlon ac yn y cyfrwng mae’r unigolyn yn dewis (Twitter yn yr achos ‘ma).

Mae fe’n glir dyw mudiadau ddim yn gallu parhau i weithio yn yr un ffordd ag oeddent cyn cyfryngau cymdeithasol. Mae’n amlwg bod y ffordd mae pobl yn cael gafael ar wybodaeth wedi newid, yn ogystal â’r ffordd maen nhw’n cyfathrebu. Mae’r blog gwych yma o Comms 2.0 yn amlinellu pam mae angen newid – gan fod pobl eisiau clywed oddi wrthym mewn iaith maen nhw’n deall, mewn iaith maen nhw’n defnyddio’n bersonol, lle mae’n glir mai pobl sy’n cynnal gwasanaethau cyhoeddus hefyd.

Mae defnyddio cyfryngau cymdeithasol yn bersonol yn ffordd wych o fynd i’r afael â’r hyn a ddisgwylir o fudiad. Ond yn fwy na hynny, drwy ddefnyddio nhw fel unigolion, ni’n rhoi gwybod i bobl sut mae mudiadau ni’n gweithio, sut ni’n cyrraedd y penderfyniadau ni’n gwneud a pham. Fel mae Tim Lloyd yn dweud yn y blog yma ar gyfer Adran Busnes a Sgiliau Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig, “mae wyneb, enw a gwybodaeth ddofn o faes polisi penodol, yn llawer mwy deniadol i’n cynulleidfaoedd na datganiadau dienw o gyfrif corfforaethol”. Sa i’n siŵr os yw hwn yn wir am bawb, ond mae hwn yn bendant yn wir yn bersonol, achos rwy’n dilyn lot mwy o bobl na mudiadau.

Dyfrig