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June 9, 2010

Social media: ibuprofen for the age of the global heartburn

Filed under: Featured — andrewchilvers @ 3:51 pm

Go online and key “social media” into google.

Actually don’t.

You’ll read 109 million times that social media is the ibuprofen for the age of the global heartburn.

Social media is a new religion, a God drawn up by prophets as diverse as doctorate students and bedsit web surfers. All of them are converts; all of them evangelists. Heretics beware.

So that probably makes me a heretic; I scoured the results list and I didn’t figure anywhere in the 109 million urls. Does that make me an unrated loser rather than a 21st century Lollard? Hey ho.

Which is a shame because I reckon the social media engagement pilots I’ve set up (with my team of media savvy oompa loompas) are breathing entities refreshingly cleansed of marketing hyperbole, professorial didacticism and general social media theoretical guff.

Next week we launch our stakeholder engagement portal for Suffolk Country Council. We’ve not written endless white papers on how social media will improve lives or about the risks involved with encouraging community networks.

We just sat down with communications manager Chris Pyburn and did it.

It’s a managed portal, a bottom up entity using interactive media such as Flip cameras and digital audio recorders. It will help record all the changes happening in adult social services among the staff and out to all the people using the services.

A kaleidoscope of viewpoints across the county.

And like all great ideas that look simple, the launch will be the result of months of internal and external work with the various communities in Suffolk. It has involved encouraging a culture change among staff, training events using flip cameras, setting up an editorial board and analysing different services, including:
• mental health
• learning disabilities
• older people
• workforce development
• transformation management (sounds naff, but these are seriously changing and challenging times in adult social services)

It also involved building links with local agencies and partners like Age Concern that work with Suffolk County Council; they provide services to people who are old, infirm, disabled or have mental health problems.

And all that is only the soft launch of phase 1…

Above all, though, the programme is about helping everyone, from staff to users of all services; to tell each other how they live their lives. That can’t be a bad thing.

So if social media can achieve all that in just three months – then count me as an evangelist.

Below Chris Pyburn talks to me about the engagement portal.

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