Don’t panic! [guest blog post by Rowan Smith]

Please meet Rowan Smith, who will be blogging for us during Social Media Week Glasgow. Rowan is Digital Communications Manager for Transport Scotland and she contributes to several web/content strategy forums across the public sector. She has a blog in which she writes about her work and current trends across the digital world of government. Anyway, there’s no best way to introduce her than with a guest blog. Welcome aboard, Rowan!

I’ve been asked to take part in a research project looking into how social media can be used in crisis comms. It’s an interesting subject and one I’m enjoying looking into. Our task is to find innovative and effective ways of sharing information – both privately between internal stakeholders and publicly to inform the general population.

To start off with, I’ve been having a look at the various platforms the group could use to share our initial findings. As I looked into the pros and cons of each, I quickly learned that there is no one ideal solution – the platform you choose will depend on your group’s specific needs and goals. I broke these considerations down into separate categories:

Security – is the information safe from unauthorised access?
Flexibility – can the platform adapt to changing circumstances?
Ease of use – will all participants be comfortable using it?
Functionality – does the platform do everything we need it to?
Scalability – if the project grows arms and legs, will the platform be able to cope?
Reliability/stability of vendor – will the app still be available for the project lifecycle?
Affordability – does the pricing fit in with project budgets?

A wiki might be ideal for a fairly open discussion between tech-savvy users, but if privacy is more important and the participants aren’t that comfortable using the web, then something like Sharepoint might be more appropriate. Horses for courses, really.

I’m now trying to find some good examples of social media collaboration between UK government departments. This is harder than it looks, but I have come across several excellent articles in the process…

Investigating the perceptions & challenges of using social media for informal e-learning and collaboration within the NHS trust by Liz Aryan. Don’t let the clunky title put you off, this is a list of responses from different stakeholders when asked how they’d feel about using socmed for work. Pretty much mirrors the attitudes I’ve encountered!
Social Media Is Not Corporate Media by Tom Formski. An interesting article warning against jumping into socmed conversations without listening first. Also mentions the traditional corporate approach and why this is not appropriate for new media channels.
Why Twitter is worth doing by Dan Slee. A great piece illustrating the power of Twitter and how Dan used this power to illustrate the power of Twitter! Read it and you’ll see what I mean
Collaboration, Technology, and Social Media by Jenny Yerrick Martin. A rumination on different forms of collaboration all facilitated by digital media, and what this means in terms of new ways of working

Have you come across any interesting collaborative projects recently? Anything else to say on the subject? Get your comments in…collaborate!

[This blog post was originally published on]

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1 Comment »

  1. Well done, Rowan. Considering the topics at
    hand here you may be interested in coming along to a SMW event I’m
    organising with IRISS. It’s called Who’s Leading and is being held the
    evening of Monday the 24th. See you there? 

    Commentby LockhartL — August 16, 2012 @ 10:10 am

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