Social reporting, personal learning networks. It’s beginning to happen …

According to Scotland’s Digital Strategy:

People need to be creative in their use of technology, innovative in developing services and applications and comfortable using the internet as an everyday, anytime, anywhere technology ….

There are encouraging signs that this is beginning to happen in the social services. We have been promoting Social reporting – the use of digital and social media to record and share thoughts, discussions, opinions and insights from workshops, conferences or training events – and Personal Learning Networks.

In practice …

Partners in Policymaking is a leadership development programme run by In Control Scotland for disabled adults and parents of disabled children. The programme consists of eight two-day courses over eight months. Iriss worked with PiP to build social reporting into the course in order to help participants reflect and review over the eight months.

As much of the discussion is personal, it’s not appropriate to share publicly, on Twitter for example. The group did decide though that a private Facebook group would be useful as many were already Facebook users.

In Control Scotland set up a blog using WordPress to provide access to course programmes, presentation slides and audio recordings of some of the lectures. Interestingly the participants are happy to have photographs from the sessions uploaded and shared. These can provide useful visual triggers to help remember and reflect.

Iriss helped In Control set-up Soundcloud for audio streaming. They have been doing some audio recordings but are learning that editing does require some time. For participant feedback they are using the popular and easy to use Survey Monkey, which really saves time on transcribing paper copies.

Social reporting lessons

In Control have learned the importance of building social reporting into event planning.
It’s important to make space for recording and interviews. It can’t easily be done during coffee breaks. Make decisions about which presentations are to be recorded and make sure there is time to set up. A speaker who knows he/she is to be recorded will wait, rather than starting before recording equipment is ready. Speakers should have a sense that being recorded is important and therefore actively take part.

Check whether the venue has its own PA. If you’ve hired someone to amplify speakers and provide roving microphones, they can probably record as a by product. Organisers have to feel they own the social reporting: there can be a tendency to treat it as something ‘other’, something that other people do.

Social reporting and Personal Learning

Social Media in Social Work Practice was held in Stirling on 8 February 2016. Rachel Wardell, West Berkshire’s Communities Director, offered a really positive view of social media. Tweeting during a conference is like taking notes except you share them. Afterwards you gather all the tweets with the conference hashtag and you have a record of the event. Then use Storify to put them into a coherent order and share with others. In other words: social reporting.

Twitter, she reminded us, is a great way to find experts and follow what they have to say. You don’t even have to Tweet. This is the basis for a Personal Learning Network. It was really heartening to hear a like-minded person in a senior position talk so positively. She was mindful of ethical and reputational problem but kept them firmly in perspective. Professional people already handle these in the analogue world and often it’s a question of applying the same principles.

We also heard from Elaine Dickson and Eilidh Rose of Aberdeenshire Council who challenged opposition to set up a Facebook page for the creation of a network of potential foster parents, which not only saved the council around £250,000, but also gave them control around advertising and recruitment.

The graphic below illustrates how Twitter can widen engagement in conference and events (Source: