Today was our first ever social media surgery – except really it ended up as a day of workshops with all sorts of interesting people thinking about different aspects of social media. We didn’t actually get to do many surgical procedures – it ended up as more of a collaborative and conversational event. It was a complete experiment and, on balance, I think we may have pulled it off.
The best bit about it for me was the fabulous mix of people: from those with lived experience of mental health difficulties, occupational therapists, psychologists, public relations professionals, service managers, volunteers, nurses and psychiatrists (and quite a few people who fell into more than one category). And a real mix of sectors – NHS, local authority, voluntary and private sector. This led to the most interesting discussions and different points of view from a group of people with wildly varying degrees of experience using social media. It was a delight to have the event co-hosted by Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Leeds Mind – role modelling good partnerships.
We had workshops on topics varying from campaigning (including a live Facebook conversation) from @changeleeds, peer support online from @BPDFFS, the art of blogging from @helenstanding, projects and organisations using social media from @inkwellarts, and the Leeds Wellbeing Web from @leedswellweb, plus me facilitating a discussion about online personal and professional boundaries.
So today I learnt a few new technical tricks, had quite a bit of what I already know confirmed, but most of all I learnt that sometimes it’s a good idea to just have a go at something and see what happens. We had a big collective think at the end of the day about how to continue the conversation and plumped for keeping it simple. So we are going to keep using the hashtag #smsmhealth to connect and share information and learning. We also identified a need to make the surgery bit happen – helping people develop the skills to get involved. And we also hope to keep people connected in real life as well through workshops and networking sessions. Hopefully the start of something good.
We live blogged the event here here