Learning as I go

A teacher standing in front of a blackboard and students with their hands raisedThe last six weeks have been a steep social media learning curve for me.

I’ve probably learnt more than I ever knew before, and much of it is due to the thriving and generous online local government community. I’ve been inspired to:

– start blogging using WordPress. It’s surprisingly easy. If you’ve been thinking about doing it, dive in

– help crowdsource a Twitter for local government guide via the Local Government Chronicle. You can help too (until 2 August). Take a look here

– learn how to use Flickr to source pictures under creative commons licensing. Amazing images and photos that you can use for non-commercial purposes as long as you give acknowledgement – and why wouldn’t you. WARNING: Flickr has time-bending properties, minutes swiftly turn into hours

– start tweeting regularly. I’ve been involved in conversations with people I would never otherwise have linked to. Sharing and learning opportunities abound on Twitter. Grab them

– sign up to Google+. I need to set aside some time to have a proper look at this, good noises coming from some of the people I follow on Twitter though

– reappraise how I use LinkedIn. I’ve been a bit half-hearted about it previously, but more people are using it now. Was definitely worth a second look

– use Google Docs for the first time. It’s brilliant that you can have numerous and unconnected people collaborating on a document online, all at the same time

– take part in a live web chat. A great way to chew the fat over a specific issue, learn and hear other people’s points of view

– learn more about QR codes and their potential use in local government – great piece and comments on @DaveBriggs blog here. Who’d have thought those funny little boxes could have so many applications.

To be honest, it’s made my head spin a bit, but I’m also really excited. Yes, it takes time and some effort to learn about social media, but that’s all it takes, your training budget need not be touched. And it’s so worth it.

The phrase ‘tipping point’ is being bandied about with increasing regularity, could we really be there?

Social media is about to expand in a big way within Local Government, through obvious applications plus ways that we probably can’t even foresee. There are exciting times ahead. Great.

Creative commons: Learning Time by Temari 09 on Flickr

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