I’ve had a pretty busy week this week what with trying to get my head round Facebook FBML and CSS for work, helping out my colleague with some photos and video for her London to Paris Bike Ride and joining some lovely people in Oxgangs Library for a social media surgery. Add in a wee cycle today and some housework and I’m knackered.
But I did want to write a quick post about my experience on Monday night at the library. The idea of social media surgeries was dreamed up by Ally Tibbitt of Greener Leith and Tom Allan ex-Guardian Edinburgh beatblogger and it entails a group of willing volunteers turning up and giving advice on social media to local community groups, non-profits or clubs.
I signed myself up to help out as a surgeon without really knowing what to expect, none of us did I guess. It all seemed like a great idea at the time but on the night of the surgery after a long day at work, doubt set in – I mean do I really know enough about it all to be of help to someone else? As it happens I found out that I probably do! Sure I can give them the chat about why social media could be so important to their organisation, I’ve had to give it umpteen times at my work, I can talk about engaging with people and building relationships with the best of them but is that really useful?
I think the answer is yes, as long as its backed up with practical help. I was paired with a couple of ladies from Firrhill Community Council who were sure that social media was the way to go to help them reach out to people in the community and find out their opinions….they just weren’t sure how to go about it.
We talked a little about what they wanted to achieve and decided that a Facebook page would be a good starting place for them. Both of my ‘patients’ had their own Facebook accounts but didn’t really use them a great deal and weren’t sure what the difference was between that and a Facebook Page. We had a great discussion about privacy and protecting your personal information then set up a page and looked at the basic things they could do with it.
In the space of an hour and a half we didn’t get much more done than setting up the page and going through the basics of adding photos, links and status updates as well as using the discussions board and adding admins to the account but I’m sure that it’s enough to get them started and we all had a great evening.
Lots of people turned up for the surgery and the enthusiasm in the room was great. It really reminded me how good it is to work with people who are enthusiastic about what they’re doing and just want to learn how to make it work, and also how useful it is sometimes to have somebody who can show you the basics and get you started, something I really benefited from when I got started.
Anyway now I’m really looking forward to the next one I help at and I’m going to be keeping in touch with the group from Firrhill. I’ll be sending them a list of useful resources to them to help them on their way and hopefully even record some screencasts to aid them in getting their Facebook page up and running.
Not right now though because the washing machine sounds like concorde about to take off….did I mention the housework!!!
Photo credit: podnosh