Tag: Chris Unitt

Seven links and five blogs to delve into #sevenlinks

Tom Watson MP (and Ahmed Al-Omran) blogging at the G20 conference
Tom Watson (and Ahmed Al-Omran) blogging at the G20 conference


Thank you Kate Hughes for being so kind on your blog post for the seven links blogging idea – one which encourages bloggers to talk about some of their older blog posts and share who they follow and read. I’ve also read Dan Slee’s post on the same, full of more inspiration.,

Not normally my thing but it’s good to do things differently.

So what seven links from back in my blog  do I want to share with you under the chosen categories

1 My Most Beautiful Post: Perhaps curious is a better word for Why doesn’t government have reservists. It was written  just after Christmas 2008 at the time the Labour government was pouring cash into the economy to try and see us through a recession.  The question provoked wonderful, intelligent responses in the comments section, 2 years later the post prompted an invitation to meet Nat Wei  (hello Nat) and was re-vamped for the world of big society.  It’s beauty?  Simple half finished ideas shared is one of the joys of blogging.

2 My most popular post: Read more

Impact Direct and social media training for former drug addicts in South Africa

It’s been quite an eye-opener meeting Marlon Parker.  He’s visiting the UK from Cape town in South Africa and has come over here to share some of his work at the charity Impact Direct.  He was here with Jon Hickman.

Below is a quick interview with him, where he explains how he began using social media to help gang members and drug addicts tell their stories, initially as a means of educating the wider community about what to expect.

Marlon Parker talks to Nick Booth about Impact Direct in South Africa from Podnosh on Vimeo.

On the face of it this is very similar to the social media surgeries we run here in brum, but just bolder. More like the work that wesharestuff does with young people who’ve recently been in prison.

But Reconstructed (Marlon’s original project name) blossomed from simply helping a few people to a network of people who are using mobile phones and instant messaging to mentor individual and families with a huge range of problems – from drugs addiction to HIV/Aids.  Here’s a scrappy bit of video of Marlon showing Chris Unitt how the mobile phone stuff works, using an application put together by the original groups of social media trainees. It’s interesting:

Angel service for Drug Addicts in South Africa from Podnosh on Vimeo.

The whole project is built on the some of the core principles that makes social media more than a means of connecting online, but as a means to gain or regain control:

  • Just get on with.  Marlon doesn’t wait for funders to OK something, he gets on with it and hopes the world will catch up.
  • Concentrate on the useful.  When encouraging people to use social media find something that’s useful for them
  • Get people teaching as much as they learn: the beauty of social media is it’s simplicity. It’s good to get those you are teaching to teach others, that strengthens the network and relationships.
  • Don’t wait for the kit, use available technology.  Instant messaging and mobile phones work in South Africa because that’s what the people Marlon want to reach have.

In the end none of the work that Marlon does, we do or loads of the rest of you do with social media is to do with specific tools or bits of technology.  It is essentially about helping people get to know each other well enough to be able to achive things together.  To do that it pays to  use whatever it takes to connect folk.