BostinCamp 4

Bostincamp returned to Dudley last night. 14 people from all sorts of different organisations got together to drink tea, eat cake, be inspired and learn from each other. All of the tweets from the session are archived on Storify. Below are some of the the things people shared, which give a flavour of the session.

Photo of Joy Boyes, Nick Booth and Alison Sayer at BostinCamp

Joye Boyes, Nick Booth and Alison Sayer at BostinCamp

First up we heard from Alison Sayer, the Chief Executive of Halas Homes. Based in Halesowen, the charity provides services and accomodation for people with learning disabilities. Alison has learned by doing when it comes to social media, and developed some really engaging and effective tactics in her use of twitter and a blog.

Then we heard from Joy Boyes, who works for the Office of Public Health in Dudley Council and has experience of numerous public health campaigns and social marketing projects in the borough. The numbers of officers and projects in Public Health using social media is on the increase, thanks to Joy’s hard work over the years and also some Lunch and Learn sessions on twitter that she has run – what a brilliant idea!

We even inspired Jane Clarke to gather the courage to post a tweet!

Introducing civic tech

To date this blog has focused pretty much on ways that people are using social media, and aimed to celebrate, promote and support that. It is an online place to signpost to face-to-face activities taking place in and around Dudley borough which offer support to people getting to grips with or tentatively trying out social media – activities such as Social Media Surgeries and BostinCamp. The strapline for this site until today has been “celebrating the ways that people are using social media to do great things and build community across Dudley borough”. Today I’ve added a second area focus: civic tech.

Civic tech, or civic technology, is

“technology (mainly information technology) that enables engagement or participation of the public for good development, enhancing citizen communications, improving government infrastructure, or generally making national and local governments more effective. It encompasses civic applications, platforms supporting government bodies and institutions and other software enabling those goals.” (source: wikipedia)

Interest in civic tech is developing in Dudley, particularly in relation to the development of the Community Council (I’ve started blogging about the Community Council on the Dudley CVS blog). There is a great new post on the Civicist blog about the role of praising and shaming in civic tech. It concludes:

“Until now, behavioral economics in public policy has been mainly about nudging citizens toward preferred choices. Yet it may be time to start also working in the opposite direction, nudging governments to be more responsive to citizens.”

I am of the understanding that senior officers in Dudley Council are keen to invite this nudging from citizens and communities. Indeed I’m starting to do some work on ways to help it to happen. So I’ve added a civic tech page to this blog to draw together useful resources and examples which we might want to learn from here in Dudley, such as work the Knight Foundation has done (see diagram below).

I’ll keep readers updated with ways to get involved in the conversation and activities. I’d love to hear about your favourite examples of civic tech in action, and any experiences you have of developing or using it. Leave a comment here, or get in touch with me on twitter: @dosticen or email: lorna@dudleycvs.org.uk

civic tech

From the Knight Foundation Civic Tech slide deck http://www.slideshare.net/knightfoundation/knight-civictech

Who should Dudley Council’s new tweeting Chief Exec be having conversations with?

screen grab of @sarahnormancx twitter profile

How exciting is this?!

Hats off to Dudley Council’s new Chief Executive, Sarah Norman. At 8.35am on her first day in the job last Monday she tweeted:

The twitter account @SarahNormanCX is a brand new one, and I am loving the commitment being made to using it. The Chief Executive of Dudley Council has been regularly sharing updates from her day, asking questions and retweeting other council and partner organisation accounts . (You have no idea how deliriously happy it makes me to have just typed that last sentence.)

This is spurring me in to action. I’ve already renewed my commitment to posting here, and have some great things lined up to share about #digitaldudley. And thanks to Sarah Norman I’m going to get something added to this site which I planned from the very beginning: a handy list of people who live, work and/or volunteer in Dudley borough and who use twitter and you would recommend conversation with.

So my questions to you are:

  • Who should our tweeting council Chief Exec be following and having conversation with and why?
  • Who should anyone new to twitter and interested in community, businesses and/or services in Dudley borough follow and have conversations with and why?
  • What shall we call the handy list? (I’ll make a new page. All I’ve come up with so far is Twitter Talk.)

Making our neighbourhoods healthy event shared online

Last Thursday Dudley’s Health and Wellbeing Board hosted an event which focused on a priority in their strategy around making our neighbourhoods healthy. As a member of the Development Group which supports the board, I was involved in the planning and preparation of the event. For a number of reasons, primarily (in my view) a lack of exposure to and experience of using social media among council officers, the various Health and Wellbeing Board events held over the last eight months haven’t involved much, if any, sharing through social media platforms.

I was therefore grateful when the lead facilitator for Thursday’s event, Catherine Wilton from Think Local Act Personal, asked before the event about hashtags. Catherine isn’t an intensive user of social media, so it’s great that she thinks about it in event planning. We agreed to use the hashtag which Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) have been using for their work with Health and Wellbeing Board (HWBs) – #TLAPHWB. I quickly created handouts for participants with the hashtag on and information about where content would be shared online following the event e.g. Stority and Flickr. I was also grateful to the team at Healthwatch Dudley, for the loan of their 4G mobile broadband device which enabled us to use wifi in Wrens Nest Community Centre during the event, as the Centre doesn’t have wifi yet.

Once you’ve sorted that as an event planner, much of the rest is down to the online community. Thanks to some great tweeting and sharing of photos on twitter during the event, I was able to quickly pull together a Storify archive from the event. I uploaded photos from my camera and my phone to Flickr here. Together, these tasks only took an hour, which I was easily able to in the evening on the day of the event. There are times which more curation and explanation in Storify is useful, and when more consideration should be given to use of photos on Flickr and thus time put in to editing. However my objective was simply to convey some of the key messages from the event, show the fun people had and try to get across the connections that people made.

Here are just a few of the tweets shared from the event by people in organisations in Dudley.

Matt Bowsher is an Assistant Director in Dudley Council and active user of twitter:

Stuart Johnson is our Police Chief Superintendent and uses twitter in a really friendly way:

Mark Ellerby from Summit House often shares interesting things he hears at events on twitter:

And Donna Roberts from Dudley Council was the twitter superstar of the day, ensuring that there were photos online and that the story of the event was shared in real time:

If you have tips for sharing online during events please reply below. If you would like any advice around using social media in events in Dudley please just ask.

 

Using social media in Community Forums

Apologies for the lack of posts at the end of last year, I don’t know where the time went!

Our social media surgeries in November and December bought together people doing brilliant things in their communities and organisations, and helped them increase confidence and skills in using social media to help them. The next social media surgery coming up is on Thursday 20 February, from 6pm at Cafe Grande in Dudley – click here to register.

BostinCamp on 5 November was a great success, the 100 tweets shared during the evening are archived here. Something we heard about during the evening was Tim Sunter’s experience of using social media at a Brierley Hill Community Forum meeting organised by Dudley Council.

local saying "community forums, a new way to have your say"

logo from Dudley Council website

The 10 regular community forums held across Dudley borough are designed to “give people direct access to councillors and Dudley Council through regular drop in public meetings” (from Dudley MBC website). During consultation about the community forums when they were first proposed there were hopes from active citizens that social media would be integral to the process (see this report from a participatory workshop at which people voiced this aspiration). However as the forums were rolled out this time last year, use of social media wasn’t being actively encouraged or facilitated.

I was therefore really pleased to see that Tim Sunter (@Brierley _Hill) was live tweeting from a community forum meeting last July. I was also intrigued that in doing so Tim had prompted a discussion during the meeting about using social media. You can see the conversation in Tim’s Storify archive (go down to the sub-title use of twitter in future meetings). I just love that the simple act of sharing a contribution made by someone using twitter and not present at the meeting impressed and changed the views of people at the meeting who had thought that using twitter at the meetings would exclude those who didn’t use it.

photo of people at BostinCamp

BostinCamp in November 2013

Tim shared this story with us at BostinCamp, and also another really interesting continuation of the story. Knowing that a number of people who are interested in what is going on in Brierley Hill don’t use twitter, Tim emailed his curated Storify archive to everyone on the mailing list for the Brierley Hill Community Forum. 21 individuals replied to Tim’s email, including 2 local councillors, with responses being very positive, aside from the 5 people who couldn’t access Storify through council computers.

Tim generously prepared a wonderfully mind map of all the responses which you can see here. Below are a couple of responses he flagged up to share with us:

“I think it is really good way to open the meeting up to a bigger audience. would be really good if the council did it safe you doing it for them and people can give live feed back to issues.”

“I think that life has made attending meetings like this difficult, but this allows people to be in the room if they care and not just if they can make the meeting. Certainly a huge leap in transparency. Thanks for sharing.”

And here’s a great response from a local councillor demonstrating openness to sharing and to figuring out which social media tools to use (which can be rather confusing) :

This is really good – how do you link into it – do you have to be on twitter or could I go in through one of my Facebook pages?”

The next BostinCamp will take place on Tuesday 5 February from 5.30pm – more details and online registration here. Do come along and join us, it’s great to drink coffee, eat cake and talk about social media.

BostinCamp is back!

Photo of Laura Broster and Joy Clarke at BostinCamp in August

Laura Broster and Joy Clarke at BostinCamp in August

If you are interested in social media, local government and voluntary activity why not join us for our second event?

BostinCamp will take place Tuesday 5 November between 5.30 and 7.30pm at the Secret Coffee Club, Pearson Street, Brierley Hill (just off the High Street). Arrive any time from 5pm. There is free parking and wifi at the venue. Register here if you fancy coming along.

BostinCamp is an informal, out of the office chance to learn things, meet people, listen and contribute and make our corner of the world just a little bit of a better place. There is coffee, cake and good conversation, plus the invitation to go for a curry afterwards if you are really enjoying it!

We’ve got three great sessions planned (no death by powerpoint, simply sharing and discussions).

Citizen tweeting: Tim Sunter (@Brierly_Hill) will share his experiences of tweeting live from Community Forums and other events, and the reactions of people around him and online. He also manages a hyperlocal site, Brierley Hill Blog, so perhaps we’ll hear about that too.

From novice to navigator: Eileen Fieldling from Dudley Volunteer Centre (@DudleyVols) will share her boundless enthusiasm for social media one year in to her journey. Expect some stats, some great ideas and probably mentions of our many amazing volunteers in Dudley borough.

Social media, local government and citizen participation: Hear what it’s like for a politician using social media. From his twitter profile perhaps we can expect Cllr Pete Lowe (@CllrPete) to talk about family, politics and football. Hopefully he’ll share what works for him and other councillors who are actively using social media to connect with people.

We’ll be using the Twitter hashtag #bostincamp for the event. 29 people came to our first camp (read about it here). Register here to join us.

How to make curry with social media

A recipe for Social Care Curry Club

Serves

Over 150 people in 4 countries (quantities can be increased)

Suitable for

Vegetarians, not-vegetarians, people working in social care, people not working in social care with an interest in social care.

Ingredients

  • A splash of an Assistant Director from Dudley Council with a good ideaPhoto of Matt Bowsher in indian restaurant tweeting on his phone
  • A healthy dollop of a social media savvy, unstoppable woman
  • A large glob of online connections with an interest in social care, and curry
  • Boundaryless opportunities to co-create
  • A handful good indian restaurants
  • A pinch of a Minister of State (optional)

You will also need the following free stuff

  • 1 blog site
  • 1 twitter account
  • 1 Eventbrite site

Overview

This began as a recipe for a handful of outings of people interested in social care, and curry. It turned in to a recipe for connecting over 150 people across 4 countries (including Canada). You can turn any recipe for something small and simple in to something much bigger by simply lengthening the preparation time and making it easy for people to co-create it with you.

Method

  1. Take the Assistant Director‘s good idea, and add it to the social media savvy, unstoppable woman. Saute until the twitter account and first post on the free blog site are done.
  2. Ask people following on twitter and the blog what day suits them best and let things bubble up on the Eventbrite site to determine how many people you’ll need to book in to the test kitchen chosen restaurant on a suitable date.
  3. Gently mix people on the evening, enjoy curry and have good conversation about social care type things. Grate over some tweets, photos and a blog. (If you’re a fan of baking with booze, you can add a pint or two in a pub afterwards.)
  4. Swirl in opportunities for people to become local hosts, add suggestions about locations across the country (England), season with a social care curry in Scotland and one in Wales.
  5. Warm(ly respond) to any interest from politicians, such as the Minister of State for Care and Support.
  6. Keep everything sizzling using social media.
  7. Taste the mix on 5 September, and quarterly thereafter.

N.B. You know how Canadians (and Americans) call courgettes, zucchini? Well they don’t use the term ‘social care’, so they have adapted this recipe to ‘Connecting over Curry’.

Preparation time

Just a few weeks.

Eating time

Dependent on restaurant, and enthusiasm for an after dinner visit to a pub. [Warning: when testing this recipe I was out until 1am!]

Don’t miss out!

Register here to join us on 5 September in Birmingham, 5 confirmed attendees from Dudley organisations (other parts of the country are available)

Photo: Matt Bowsher, Assistant Director, Dudley MBC.
Photo credit: George Julian
This post was inspired by a Social Care Curry Club tweet (below) from George Julian

Bostin Beginnings

twitter bird logo with speech bubble saying '#tweet on the street @dudleyccg"

from Dudley CCG’s Facebook page

BostinCamp got off to a fantastic start on Wednesday. 29 people from all sorts of organisations with all sorts of roles and interests spent a couple of hours after work discussing and learning about social media use by a charity, by the NHS and by local government.

You can see the line-up from the launch event here, all the tweets and photos from the evening are all archived on Storify here.

In a nutshell, we talked about:

  • Cake (of course!)
  • The link between design (e.g. of promotional posters) and social media as a means of sharing them
  • The importance of saying thank you to people who support what you do
  • Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group‘s blend of listening to local people’s views on healthcare (Feet on the Street) and sharing them through video voxpops and twitter (#tweetonthestreet)
  • Whether GPs should tweet about health issues
  • Why we should trust frontline staff to use social media, and the fact that people trust frontline staff more than CEOs and government officials nowadays (Dan Slee shared a link to this fascinating article which draws on the Edelman Trust Barometer on the brilliant comms2point0 site.
  • Dudley Council being one of 3 local authorities in England involved in a research bid which will

     map and analyse the use of social media by the involved local authorities in order to learn about how this impacts or could impact on the engagement of citizens, including young people.

  • Curry (all good camps lead to a good curry)

CCG FB

There were quite a few useful links shared, and #bostincamp reached far beyond Dudley thanks to those tweeting from the event. All the links and discussions are in the Storify archive.

Thanks to the Secret Coffee Club for hosting BostinCamp, and Marc and Callum for serving us delicious drinks. And thanks to everyone who came along or joined in on twitter – you made the evening truly bostin!

Dudley Council social media use celebrated in White Paper

Image of Best by West Midlands 2013 publication front cover

An event held at The Public in West Bromwich on Friday bought together people who work in and around local councils in the West Midlands to highlight social media activity which has the potential to’ transform the way that citizens see and interact with council services and officers’. Jan Britton, Chief Executive of Sandwell Council says in the introduction to Best by West Midlands 2013: A White Paper on Social Media in Local Government:

‘Councils across the West Midlands are increasingly using social media channels to communicate and engage with customers, citizens and communities. We believe that councils are doing some amazing things not only to improve the skills of their staff and expand their knowledge but more importantly, to enhance relationships with and among their communities.’

Two examples of Dudley Council activity are highlighted in the White Paper and on the Best by West Midlands website. The first is Dudley Council’s Flickr site on which over 1600 photos have been shared to date. Jason Whyley from Dudley Council explains in the case study that:

‘Probably our biggest success with flickr, to date, has been around the building of community pride and has included working other privately run interest groups within the borough.  We have used flickr to profile good news stories that come directly from the community, for example, a sketch book collection found by a member of the public in a charity shop that contained some great borough paintings from Edward Fox. Setting up local history interest groups, such as the borough’s links to the Titanic anchor, adding images from the borough’s archive relating to our proud heritage, and featuring interviews with former business owners.’

Dudley Council’s use of social media to support the Making it Real social care work is also featured as a case study.

Why a White Paper? As was explained on Friday, ‘a white paper is an authoritative report or guide helping readers to understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision’ (source: wikipedia). The people behind this one (Dan Slee and Darren Caveney of Comms2point0 and Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands) wanted to bring the great work going on in the West Midlands above the radar, and lay down a marker of progress by 2013.

Useful links

(image: Best by West Midlands 2013 publication cover taken by Lorna Prescott)

BostinCamp: the launch!

photo of hot chocolate with #bostincamp written in chocolate sauce on the froth

photo credit: Joy Clarke (@joysuzannexo)

It’s here!

Hot on the heels of a successful Brewcamp excursion to Dudley we bring you BostinCamp – the launch event!

BostinCamp  mixes cake, tea, coffee, and ideas about social media, public services and voluntary organisations. It’s a chance to learn things, meet people, listen and contribute and make our corner of the world just a little bit of a better place. Anyone can come. It’s free to book, you can do that here.

Our first ever event starts at 5.30pm on Wed 7 August 2013 and runs until 7.00pm

You can grab a coffee from around 5pm and there’s free wifi. There is free parking at the venue. The things we’ll be hearing and talking about:

We’ve got three fantastic women lined up to share some quite different experiences (I did ask a bloke to contribute, but he’s having a lovely long holiday so you’ll have to wait for the next event for that fantastic story).

  • Joy Clarke will share with us what she has been doing to develop online communications for a local charity (@i4cs)
  • Laura Broster will discuss with us ways that she is developing social media use in the NHS for @DudleyCCG
  • Jo Orchard-Webb will share exciting news of a research proposal which Dudley MBC and Dudley CVS are involved in around social media, local government and citizen participation.

Fancy joining us? You can register here – it’s free to come along, drinks and cakes are yummy and reasonably priced. If the conversation is too good to stop we can go on for curry. Don’t forget to tell your friends and colleagues. We’re using #bostincamp on twitter.