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.


Social Media Mini Bytes

strawberry rssA fair amount of my work involves working with people in community contexts, and supporting people from all sorts of organisations and groups to work with different communities in ways which are empowering for all involved.

Four years ago a group of us started to develop training and networking sessions for people who have roles which require them to work with communities. This was in response to findings of some research we carried out in which we discovered that a lot of officers and volunteers don’t feel confident about doing this sort of thing. It can generate feelings of worry and stress – even though when they take the plunge they often have really good experiences. We call our programme of support around this ‘engaging together’.

Questions about social media in relation to such work are arising more and more. It might be that people are wondering how social media could help with community consultation. Or how they could use social media to make connections and build relationships in communities. Maybe just even to find out what’s going on.

In response to that my colleague Donna and I are running a series of short sessions in order to help people a little, with a view to using what we learn to develop more in depth learning opportunities. Our Social Media Mini Bytes series will invite people to explore opportunities, challenges and practicalities of using social media to engage communities in empowering ways. The sessions are free to attend.

The details and registration pages can be found from these links: