Facing up to our facts

nursery name pegs

For people of my generation who went to school in the early 70’s, the image above is probably typical. Even before we could read or write our names, most of us were encouraged to associate them with ‘our space’. I say encouraged but we had no choice. We were probably also encouraged to link that space with an image. I imagine there were some schools where that image was a self portrait, a family photo or a school mug shot Polaroid. In some cases I imagine that image and space was associated with gender.

We went along with this, we had no choice. Continue reading

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Always people first

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I’ve learned that if you wait until something is perfect, it won’t be; not for everyone anyway. The delay will probably have had a detrimental effect on what you were trying to do.

So I had an idea and put it out there – sociable organisation, sociable city even. It was, and still is, storytelling about how introducing social networking and other ways of working in and across the boundaries of organisations might help connect people, virtually and physically. An idea to help share ideas, experience, skills, to look to see how others do things and perhaps even discuss what things are done. Ultimately it might help shape a different way of designing, delivering and accessing services. It was also an opportunity to encourage people to tell their story and cut their teeth in the world of publishing, and one where comment and feedback was welcome. Continue reading

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Getting IT together and connecting people

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

That’s one of my Dad’s sayings that sort of make sense if you don’t take them too literally….or if you tweak them slightly. I’ll come back to this.

The other week I met someone I’d been trying to catch up with for a while. His name is Vic Berry. Rumour had it he was a ‘digital outreach worker’, someone this ‘meaning maker’ had to meet. On meeting, Vic conceded to being a mere ‘project co-ordinator’ for Citizens Online in Leeds.

I wanted to meet Vic and hear his story as it’s easy to assume that the world is all shiny tech; everyone is ready and up for ‘channel shift’ and the whole city is connected and socially networking thank you very much. It isn’t. Continue reading

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Sociable city anyone?


This time last year I’d just been asked to lead on developing and implementing social media strategy at Leeds City Council. I’d run some social media cafes. Of the relatively few people that came, the majority were a bit despondent it didn’t appear to matter what they tried; they didn’t feel particularly supported, they had little guidance, no real plan of action. People were generally too busy to try new things or do things differently. They were being asked to do more; there seemed less time to try new stuff. It appeared a downward spiral. It was possible this was more than just about understanding social media.
Continue reading

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Social Media – So What ?

In the latest post on the sociable organisation blog, Ian Street tells the story of how @recoveryleeds was created and what difference it has made so far.

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From my perspective, working with Leeds City Council, ‘So What?’ was often the response when use of social media was mentioned. Issues around accountability, control, understanding etc. – the ‘reasons why not’ got in the way of being able to explore and experiment how we might engage and communicate differently.  Having tried on numerous occasions to encourage a debate and discussion on using social media and seeing these discussions go nowhere, I was somewhat sceptical when Phil Jewitt approached me a few months ago to take part in a pilot to explore some of these ideas under the sociable organisation banner. Continue reading

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Latest #HSCLeeds Tweet Meet

The most recent Tweet Meet for health and social care in Leeds (#HSCLeeds) was hosted on Tuesday 10th September at Tech North, in Chapel Allerton. It was really good to catch up with those who had been before, and great to meet some new faces. 

The meeting discussed the upcoming Digital Conference in October, the work towards finalising city-wide guidance on social media, the issues social media can bring to organisations, and how to take the Tweet Meets forward in future. 

For more information, please read my blog here


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#HSCLeeds is the hashtag/callsign that folk in health and social care in Leeds are using as we join up to discuss and develop the use of social media to help make a difference for people who need support in our city.

Anyone in health or social care is welcome to attend the #HSCLeeds Tweetmeets where we catch up, drink tea/coffee, eat cake, share what we are doing, look at stuff we want to change, share our learning with others and eat more cake!

Updates from the Tweetmeets and future dates will be posted under the #HSCLeeds page heading.

Basically it’s a sociable way of catching up and trying to make a positive difference. Search the #HSCLeeds Twitter tag for the latest chat and feel free to join in.

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