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Lorna Wills – How attending Social Media Surgeries helped me find my place in my community

Posted on 20th March 2013 by

I first met Lorna Wills at the Low Hill Social Media Surgery in January. Recently I caught up with her again to see what had prompted her to come to a surgery in the first place and what she’s done with her new skills since then.

Lorna Willis

Lorna moved into the area 2 years ago and didn’t know that many people near where she lived, so she came along to the surgery wanting to learn how to use the internet to find out what things were going in her area. Things  that she could get involved with.  She had been attending her local neighbourhood watch meetings, but when the group tailed off she realised she wasn’t sure what she could get involved with next.

” I first found out about the surgeries only just in time to attend the last session in Low Hill but the people there were lovely and welcoming. I sat with someone and they showed me how to use twitter. They knew there were lots of people and groups using it locally and that I could use it to find out what was on going on in my area ….

…I’ve since joined the local Crimestoppers group as a voluntary member. I talked to Mac the organiser on twitter and went along to a meeting to find out more.

I’ve since traveled to Rugby for my induction and to the Crimestoppers conference in Warwickshire, which is where I met Chief Constable Andy Parker. Talking to Andy we discovered we had a mutual acquaintance, we got back in touch I’m now arranging to meet him too!

Those conversations on twitter have been a catalyst for all this. I have met some lovely people and improved my social life. 

I was feeling dissatisfied in the area, it didn’t seem that friendly, I found it was hard to make new friends in a new place. I think I’d come to realise you have to stay somewhere  couple of years to find your community but I just couldn’t meet people I could relate to before but now I have both at the surgery and people I’ve met by going online.

I used Twitter to find out about events locally, which I’ve attended and now I’m even helping to arrange our own event on Low Hill for local groups to a showcase their organisations. The surgeries played a big part in my taking part in all this, it has boasted my confidence, I’ve always been active but in my own and now I’ve met some lovely people to be active with.”

 

Using Social Media to Improve Perceptions of Saftey

Posted on 1st February 2013 by

At the moment we are in the middle of a project working with the South Birmingham Safety Partnership. This involves running social media surgeries across communities in South Birmingham to improve civic conversations in those areas, get the communities and local partners talking to each other talking to each and getting their news online and hopefully by doing so positively changing their perceptions of safety.

Yesterday we had our second session in the Kings Norton. Jo Burrows, senior youth worker at the Three Estates Youth Project came along. Jo, by her own admission was a complete novice when it came to social media – she didn’t trust it – and this came through her lack of understanding of the tools that were available. After just one Social Media Surgery with us we managed to change some of those misgivings and set her up with her own blog for the Project.  Here’s what she had to say :

 

Live Blogging/Social Reporting – a new digital skill.

Posted on 15th June 2012 by

New Optimist Forum Future Foods event 11th June 2012

Earlier this week Max, Nick and I went to the New Optimists Forum – Future Foods, We’re were there in a professional capacity Social reporting from the evening to get and overview of the event online as it happened. This was Max’s first outing as a social reporter and talking to him afterwards reminded me how tiring I found it when I first started live blogging events. So I asked him afterwards what 3 tips we could have given him before we went into the session to make it easier.  These were his responses;

1. Don’t be complacent.

Max thought it was going to be easier than it actually was ad didn’t expect to be quite so tired afterwards – It’s not an easy thing trying to record what is going on, keeping track of the sometimes multiple conversation and listening for a perfect sound bite to capture on camera.

2. Make sure your laptop is not too big.

Turning up with all the tools you’d need for a social reporting job as a *mobile” social reporter is easier if you have a lighter laptop. We had audio recorders, flip cameras, a stills camera and our laptops with us – spare batteries, spare chargers and a mi-fi – lugging that around can be tiring.

3. Don’t delete anything.

Max admitted afterwards that the thing he found hardest was listening and picking out the “best” bits. He said he would start writing something and then something else interested would start to be discussed so he’s scrap it and start again. He realised he could have just kept it all. He could have bullet pointed all interesting points and not worried about going into too much detail – if he’d wanted to elaborate further he could have grabbed the attendees for a video clip, getting them to reiterate the relevant points they’d made.

Social reporting is all about getting a flavour of an event, an overview of proceedings not precise minutes – it can be used at all kinds of events from large conferences to smaller neighbourhood meetings and everything in between.  It’s a skill we teach in our aptly named “Social Reporter Training” packages where we look at the tools to use and the “how to” of social reporting and while we already teach “Don’t delete anything” I think I’ll be adding the rest of Max’s tips  into the next session we host.