Social reporting training at Participation Week
Yesterday Scottish Government started a week long series of events and talks called Participation Week. The idea is to get people from Scottish public services together to discuss the full spectrum of what ‘participation’ is or could be. From citizen engagement and decision making in policy making and democratic renewal to digital participation and inclusion to internal communication and collaboration but all with a focus on making the business of government more efficient, more transparent, more inclusive and creating policies and services that are useful and usable.
We are taking part in Participation Week by putting on some training and digital surgeries and yesterday we held our first session with the super talented Rosie McIntosh of Third Sector Lab on social reporting events (you can see Rosie’s slides on Google Drive.)
Here are my favourite discussion points from the session:
Social reporting starts well in advance of your event. In fact it should be part of your overall event planning because things like a hashtag, blog or website and online content plans need to be thought about and put into place for promotion to delegates. In the digital engagement team we are seeing more and more people come to us about social reporting in their planning phase which is great. Hopefully we’re seeing the end of folk considering online communication as an add on or afterthought. In the interest of transparency, greater involvement and participation, online aspects of events need as much time as possible to build and bed in with online communities.
Hashtag research! This is a big one and it’s unfortunately overlooked by quite a lot of people, even social media veterans. An event hashtag really is a must because it will bring the conversation together and make responding, monitoring and evaluation much easier. It also makes it a cinch for people to attend your event remotely via social media. But don’t explode onto the scene with a hashtag you haven’t researched- no good will come of that. Come up with a few, jump online and see how or if it is being used elsewhere. The last thing you want is to establish a hashtag that is being used across the globe for nefarious reasons.
Consent for publishing images, audio and video. Rosie’s default (and I know she’s right) is to get consent from *everyone* that is interviewed, captured on video or audio recorded one to one. It is courteous for event organisers to make delegates aware there will be social reporting done on the day so people have the opportunity to let someone know they don’t want their image or voice to be captured. A really great thing I’ve seen at events is giving delegates who don’t want to be recorded in any way a kind of wearable indicator (like a coloured badge) so they can be avoided by reporters. Rosie suggested taking a photo of anyone who does not want to be photographed, etc on a completely separate device than what is being used for the rest of the event. Although it sounds counterintuitive it means she can make absolutely sure she’s not publishing that person’s image by being able to look back at their face.
Setting boundaries. Rosie’s slides have some really good points about what a social report is and isn’t. Do have a look.
Equipment. This is a big one for Scottish Government staff and it’s not unrecognised but we have yet to settle on a solution. Doing things like taking quick films and audio clips and immediately uploading them require equipment that is not standard issue in our organisation. Again, Rosie came up with a really great idea of creating a social reporter pack (so like a smartphone, small tripod, microphone, etc) that can be held in a sort of library and checked out when needed. We are looking into this and though I think there probably won’t be an issue making a case for buying some equipment, there is some more discussion to be had around who manages that library and who would provide the support some social reporters might need in the beginning in uploading information and things like that.
Capacity. We’re running into this issue a lot generally but when it comes to social reporting it could be amplified for some teams. Learning a set of relatively new skills, growing and managing an online community then dealing with the legacy will take a dedicated person or people. As this kind of thing isn’t really baked into event planning over the organisation yet, people aren’t always factoring in setting aside a resource or carving out someone’s time for the job. But we’re here to help and I will be following up with a few people from the session who have events coming up to see if I can lend a hand in helping them set up and learn.