Layers of delight (and the joy of online social networks with my teens)

Layers of delight (and the joy of online social networks with my teens)

Ok, so I know there are plenty of aspects of online social networks that are problematic. Particularly for teens. But sometimes I reflect on ways in which online social networks, and our smartphones, afford layers of connection between myself and my three children (12, 14 and 17) which give me unmitigated joy and delight. Things are expressed that would never be said face to face. Experiences can be shared even when we are far apart. We can collaborate in novel and pleasurable ways. Here are just ten examples… Sharing special moments from afar – the time when my daughter allowed me to share her first experience of Glastonbury festival by sending me WhatsApp video clips of the moment when she met her favourite music artist Helping each other out – all the times when my daughter asks for my advice on her clothing purchases via Facetime from shop dressing rooms Bad humour– the atrocious comedy memes and GIFs via WhatsApp from my son Saying what can’t be said in person – my daughter congratulating me on passing my PhD viva via text message when she could only be tetchy to my face Liking my stuff – when my son hearts my Instagram posts and his friends (bizarrely) start following my account Keeping a close but surreptitious eye – my daughter blocking me on Facebook only to allow her BFF to friend me so that she can spy on my posts via her account Sharing the love – my daughter sending me heart emojis and telling me she loves me via WhatsApp when she will never say it to my...
Purpose, values and meaning – a few Twitter-related reflections

Purpose, values and meaning – a few Twitter-related reflections

What can you learn about social media from tweeting from an account that isn’t your own? This week I found out when I took over the People of Leeds Twitter account for a week.  People of Leeds is curated by a different person each week and the only criteria is that you have to live, work or play in Leeds – it’s a great idea! Whilst tweeting from the account was a bit of fun, I also used it as an opportunity for reflection on my own use of  Twitter.  If you want to reflect on your own account then I heartily recommend a similar experience – it’s great for a bit of perspective. Building relationships – social networking is all about networks and relationships, so it was discombobulating to begin the week with a ready-made set of over 6000 followers, of whom I mostly knew nothing about.  I found myself scrolling through my timeline searching for commonalities in the people I was following – who had chosen to follow them and why? Without knowing your followers it’s hard to create content that’s likely to be interesting or useful to them. It reminded me that relationships on my own Twitter account have been forged over years and how those connections have been sustained through reciprocity – shared interests and shared knowledge. I’m interested in my timeline because it is filled with people I have chosen to follow.  Those connections really do count. Purpose and values – having a clear purpose is like a compass for a social media account, which in turn provides clarity from which your content can flow....
You are what you tweet (part 2)

You are what you tweet (part 2)

With a week to go to the Health and Care Innovation Expo I’m delighted to have a guest post from my co-presenter at the Pop-up University, Dominic Stenning aka @Patient_Leader. We’ll be running a session on social media: Only one week to go until the  Expo that I’m presenting at with @VictoriaBetton. Both Victoria and I love our social media and know just how valuable a tool it can be for sharing ideas and more importantly, building relationships. If you’re honest, genuine and open to other people’s views then, in my experience, you have nothing to fear from Twitter. Yes it will challenge your thinking and yes you won’t agree with everyone, but that doesn’t mean you have anything to fear. On the whole if you stick to the rule ‘you are what you tweet’ – such as being considerate – then you can only get the very best social media has to offer. Building relationships and networking in general is what it’s all about. My advice is get stuck in and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. We’re a forgiving bunch on Twitter and if you get something wrong, just say sorry and if the other person doesn’t understand, then that’s their problem. We all make mistakes or say something without thinking, on the whole you will not only learn from it but make new friends in the process, as I have. My life has significantly changed since using social media (Mainly Twitter) and that’s mainly to do with following up online relationships with real life meet ups.  I’ve ended up working with various healthcare professionals and also making friends with people...
#MentalPatient – where it all started and what it all means

#MentalPatient – where it all started and what it all means

Where it all started When I sneaked a peak at my emails (ironically in the middle of a Time to Change Leeds steering group meeting) and clicked on an Asda link from one of our consultant psychiatrists, @nuwandiss, my heart started palpitating. I couldn’t believe the image in front of me. Surely this Halloween costume was a wind up? But the URL was legit. I shared it with colleagues around the table. We all gasped. My first thought was that it had to come down quickly – it was going to upset and offend so many people. Asda’s headquarters are in Leeds and Dom, Head of Social, has been fantastic in supporting myself and my comms team in our use of social media. He’s even blogged about mental health taboos himself – you can read it here.  So I sent him a DM. Dom got it straight away and put things in motion to get it taken down. Unfortunately for Asda the web page remained up. Going viral Later that morning our chief executive (who also received the email) tweeted Asda with the link, and a response came quickly: ‘Thanks for your feedback. We agree. Our George colleagues had already picked up on this and are taking action. #timetochange’. There was no further interaction until the ChrisButlernhs tweet was re-tweeted by MrsGracePoole in the evening and at this point the topic went rapidly viral over the next 24 hours, resulting in prime time national TV and radio coverage plus print media the next day. A review using the analytics engine Topsy shows that during the twenty four hour period from 12am on 26 September there were 22,371 tweets mentioning the word Asda, compared to...
What I love about Twitter – inconsequential frippery

What I love about Twitter – inconsequential frippery

  My partner recently (and reluctantly) joined Twitter in order to promote his business. This has led to more than a few heated debates about the culture and etiquette of this social media channel. He has found himself particularly irritated by what he regards as frippery and nonsense flying around his timeline. Why on earth would anyone be interested in what I’ve had for tea? Who cares what my views are about [insert subject] that doesn’t relate to my business in the slightest? He is finding it hard to fathom. And whilst on the surface I have been valiantly fighting Twitter’s corner, it has secretly caused me to reflect on my own behaviours and others in my timeline. Is it a problem to be inconsequential? I’m a real fan of the ‘party’ analogy for Twitter – if you’re at a party you tend to get out what you put in – make the effort and others will reciprocate. Talk about yourself and your work/business/professional interests the whole time, and other party-goers are likely to make a hasty retreat. Conversation is as much (if not more) about developing relationships as it is about sharing information and knowledge. And so it is in my experience on Twitter. I search out content relevant to my professional interests, but I also enjoy the odd bit of frippery in my timeline. Being inconsequential – snippets reflecting the shared experience of what it is to be human in 140 characters – is a means of creating connection. Put that way it doesn’t sound so inconsequential to me after all. I am fascinated by our different...
What I love about Twitter – spontaneity

What I love about Twitter – spontaneity

My What I love about Twitter posts are intended as tiny vignettes of transient moments that capture the joys of Twitter for me. They are a personal record of my social media learning curve and I hope also illustrate the possibilities of Twitter to people who are getting to grips with the platform. What I love about Twitter is the way it can sponateously connect me to others during a particular moment or experience. This week I spent a couple of days at the NHS Expo #ExPo2013 which was a mix of speeches, workshops and stands all about innovation in health. Twitter made the event a multi-dimensional one for me. I found myself seamlessly navigating my experience of attending the event both in person and via Twitter in ways which reinforced, developed and shifted my journey during each day in many and varied ways. A few examples are: Discovering who, where, what and when (I barely looked at the programme)  Unexpected encounters with people in passing “are you so-and-so off Twitter?”  Arranging to meet up with people when we both realised we were there “fancy a coffee and a catch up?”  Pre-arranged plans to follow up on conversations we had started on Twitter  Reinforcing new connections with follow up with conversations on Twitter (still continuing)  Making new online connections through retweets using the #ExPo2013 hashtag. I also managed to miss quite a few people who I’d have loved to have met up. My almost meeting with @MrBen_King was the one that really made me giggle though:     Even though I was at the event all on my own,...