Archive | May, 2012

That Friday Follow Thing: Social Care

25 May

For those not familiar Friday Follow (#ff) is a Twitter convention whereby on a Friday you recommend people to follow. This is considered, a fantastic way to make new connections via a trusted recommendation or one giant internet circle jerk where bored idiots stroke their egos, depending on your side of the argument.

Me?

I do it occasionally and it does end up taking a considerable amount of time up but, by the same account, I do follow a lot of people who I learn from on a daily basis. My preference is that if you’re going to do it then rather than just tweeting #ff and a list long list of names,  tweet a single username and the reason that you are recommending them, have to say I have personally founded quite a few new people to follow by such recommendations. Anyway enough of my personal Twitter etiquette, I will be doing posts like this from time-to-time on a Friday instead of doing it on Twitter, I’ll be doing the recommendations based on themes and today’s theme is Social Care. Even though our current Government seem to have forgotten about Social Care with the latest delay to the long awaiting and much needed White Paper, time and change wait for no one. Twitter is an exciting place to be for Social Care content at the moment, lots of connections are starting to form, debates are being had about the big issues affecting the practice and management of Social Care from people working in Local Authorities, Charities and from private sector providers of care. Without exception, all the social care Tweeters that I have met have been linked by desire to engage and that’s exciting for me, people are starting to share ideas and best practice in an open environment like Twitter and that can only be good for both the profession as a whole and to the public perception of it.

Call to Arms: Do You work in Health or Social Care?

We need you. We may need you to lead us, if you’re willing and your vision is strong enough, but we certainly need you. You might have the idea that makes it all work, we might have some ideas that work for you. I really want to see a lot more Social Care and Health tweeters and bloggers over the coming years, there’s a reason for this. Eddie Izzard does a sketch about bee-keepers:

You guys working front line Health and Social Care, you’re the bee keepers. I’ve met very few people working in Health and Social Care who told me they were ‘just doing a job’ or ‘just doing it for the money’ the thing that I have noticed is they share a genuine passion for helping people by offering the best services that they are able and that, in itself, is no easy task. So come on guys, let’s see you on Twitter, let’s hear your thoughts. We do not have to wait for a Government that has seemingly forgotten about us, we’re here, we’re talking; there is not a single movement in the history of civilisation that hasn’t started this way. Anyway, if you want to find the most interesting content on Twitter on UK Social Care here are the people I recommend you follow.

This list is by no means exhaustive, I have chosen the people I regard as the best curators of content, through these people you will find a lot more people to follow and engage with.

Shirley Ayres (@Shirley Ayres) – Shirley is a true leader and a bit of a heretic at times and quite right too, heretics have more fun! Shirley is responsible for well over half of the interesting content I read on Twitter around Social Care and Health, her skill at curating content and asking the right and difficult questions is legendary. I follow Shirley closely, she is always engaged in fascinating discussions on a variety of topics and I learn a lot. You should read her superb blog on Connecting Social Care and Social Media.

I have a list of people I intend to go out of my way to meet and learn from, Shirley is on there, we keep missing each other, but we’ll get there soon.

Ermintrude2 – Anonymous Blogger Ermintrude2 is another superb creator and curator of thought provoking content around Social Care. She is someone I would hold up as a superb ambassador for the profession, always sharing best practice and experience and always eager to engage in important discussions. Ermintrude is the antidote to the often skewed picture of  Social Care that is in the media, we need more people like her! She is involved in The Not So Big Society Blog, which I highly recommend.

GndSocialCare – Sometimes working in Social Care you’d be forgiven for thinking the national media an enemy. Unfortunately bad news sells more papers than good news, so a lot of the stories that end up running about Social Care are about the times it goes wrong or we get it wrong. The Guardian are on a wonderful mission to present a bit more balanced perspective on Social Care issues and their content just gets better and better. Check out the Guardian Social Care Network.

Claudia Megele – Her Twitter Profile States: There is little I’m not curious about & even less I’m not interested in… and that about sums up the content she creates and curates, always fascinating. Claudia is a Senior Lecturer, MSc Module Leader, Author and Researcher.

LearningSHaCK – This account is close to my heart as run  by friends and colleagues in the Learning and Development Service at Warwickshire, I helped them to get started on Twitter and am pleased to say they have become fantastic curators and creators of content.

And last, but no means least, a recent one, but immediately brilliant:

WhoCaresWalsall – Provides information about care services in Walsall and began with the live-tweeting of the morning in the life of Sheila who cares for her husband Ron who has Vascular Dementia. You can read the full story and you should, it was a superb piece of storytelling in real time and perfectly highlighted a lot of the issues of caring for someone who has dementia and also someone living with dementia. On every level I am in awe and certainly one to watch; there don’t have to be flashy unicorns, it just needs to be real and this is. Check out the blog and huge Kudos to Tina and Becky from Walsall Council for Tweeting such a powerful story. Also credit to Dan Slee for being awesome.

Are you working in Local Government Communication?

You need to be following Comms2Point0 and check out their awesome blog .

Social Care in Warwickshire

Social Care and Health

Adult Social Care

Children’s Social Care

Warwickshire Resource Directory

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If You only ever read one post, let it be this one.

19 May

Ooooooh dramatic title, right?

Cancer’s pretty shit, I think we can agree on this. Pancreatic Cancer is particularly nasty and comes with a 3% survival rate, which is the same as it was 40 years and Maggie Watts wants to do something about that. My mum died of pancreatic cancer, I saw first hand how quick it kills so I’d like to help do something about that. Sign the petition here:

Improve Early Detection and Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer

And the Facebook Group  here:

Facebook: Pancreatic Cancer Petition

I’d really appreciate you taking the time to sign today.

Paul and Twitter – Old Friends, New Friends and Endless Opportunity

17 May

I logged in to Twitter over lunchtime today and the first thing I saw was a familiar face smiling back at me from the ‘Who to follow’ box. That face belonged to Tom Page, a great friend and house mate throughout my time at Warwick Uni and part of the reason most of my First Year at is a memory black hole (but that, dear reader, is another story for another day). Sadly, I’d lost touch with Tom after graduation and had resigned myself to the fact I might not see him again, but suddenly there he was. I sent him a tweet and a few hours later we were talking on the phone, catching up on old times and what we’ve each done since leaving University. I find myself saying this a lot, but Twitter has been a string of near endless opportunities like this for me and this is the story I’ve been meaning to tell for a while. This is a story about Me and Twitter.

In the Beginning

To begin with I was very sceptical of Twitter, it struck me for a long time as being rather elitist due to the fact that you’re going to need a smartphone to get the most out of the platform. At the time, smartphones were not as numerous as they are now (and I didn’t have one), so I felt fairly confident in my opinions, until one day all that changed.

A Chance Meeting with Our Man Inside

Sometimes it’s a chance meeting with a stranger that helps us the most. The person who I always give full credit for changing my opinion of Twitter is Christian Payne, who I met by sheer good fortune through a mutual friend we have. I can’t speak highly enough of Christian, if you don’t already then I highl;y recommend that you follow him and any opportunity to hear him speak should never be passed-over. You can find his website here: Documentally.com.

Anyway, me and Christian got talking and he asked me what I did for a living. I told him I worked in PR and he immediately asked what my Twitter username was and looked shocked when I told him I didn’t have one. I’ll never forget what he said next: ‘then you won’t be as good at your job as you could be!’ I was shocked and a little offended and questioned him on what he meant. At great and fascinating length he began to tell me all the amazing opportunities that Twitter offered to PR professionals and all the doors it had opened up for him, the work he had got and the friends he had made. It was hard to argue with the case he was making and that same day I set up my Twitter account, which I ran using the web-based Twitter before finally getting a smartphone.

Without Twitter

I described earlier ‘a string of near-endless opportunities’ and the superlative soup was well justified. If I was to list all the amazing things that I’ve gained through engaging on Twitter this post would be huge, but here are some of the things I have Twitter to thank for:

Without Twitter I would not have learnt as much as I have about PR and met so many people facing similar challenges as me. Christian was right, if I hadn’t joined Twitter I would not be as good at my job as potential would allow. Thanks to the amazing people that I follow, I learn  new things every day and that is exciting.

Without Twitter, I would not have been able to be involved in so many interesting discussion with other people working in Local Authorities and in Social Care all over the country. There is a fabulous community to be found on Twitter in both areas and they have always treated me with nothing but kindness and warmth.

Without Twitter, I wouldn’t have had anywhere to complain that my phone was unlikely to last, on a single battery charge, for the duration of the March for the Alternative last year. I would not have been contacted by Sasha Taylor with the offer of borrowing a portable mobile recharger and therefore would have been unable to do the Audioboos that I did during the March. Sasha and I would not have become friends and collaborators; I would have not helped organise Warwick 4am project or BlueLightCamp and therefore I would not have met David White or John Bracey or Louise Matthews and we would not have been stood in Manchester gazing up at the International Space Station while Radiovicky captured the moment.

Without Twitter I may never have visited Tring and certainly have never met thinkingfox and had a fun visit to the natural history museum in the town. I would not have met Millymoo (who is a fabulous Orwell Prize shortlisted legal blogger) and Jules.

There is so much more I could list, but instead I will say thank you. To the people I follow who make Twitter fizz with potential and all the people I’ve chatted to, laughed with, met and will meet. You’re all awesome!

But really…

Twitter Doesn’t Matter

It’s just a tool people, it’s an amazing tool that started something, but it is just a tool. It’s People that matter. We matter. Twitter may one day not exist but, in my opinion, it has enabled a form of instant global communication, collaboration and sharing that will transcend it. I’m not excited by Twitter, the thought that every day I will wake up and learn something new, join a tribe or, who knows one day, maybe lead one.

Who to Follow

I’ve made some recommendations of people that I like to follow on Twitter, based on area of interest, you can read those posts below:

That Friday Follow Thing: Social Care and Health

Anyway, friends, you know the score, if you don’t like these thoughts then please do stick around, I have others.

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