Social reporting made simple (thanks Carl)

Carl Haggerty, who does terrific work in Devon County Council helping staff use social media for internal networking, is also promoting digital engagement in the  community.

He has just posted the neatest explanation I’ve seen of how to use social reporting of offline events to promote wider engagement (OK, I’m a little biased by the kind mention of this blog).

Digital engagement

You can see a bigger image here. Carl explains:

1: The Offline Event
This could be anything, the key challenge is to create an environment which allows people to talk and have conversations. The biggest change though is to proactively encourage social reporters to video, take photos, live blog etc about the vent itself and then publish those online either via sites like YouTube, Vimeo, twitter, Facebook, Flickr, WordPress etc.  If you are unsure what a social reporter is or does then take a look at David Wilcox’s Blog who does excellent stuff in this area.

Another key aspect to this bit is promoting discussions through the use of hash tags (e.g. #theevent), promoting the reuse of the content that had been created and encouraging people to talk, discuss and devise opinions around it in their own online networks. This may require some council staff to join new groups as individuals to listen and or feedback relevant information (based on a social contract with the group).

2: Online Communities
This isn’t about the council or a particular organisation creating new online spaces for conversations to happen, this is about allowing people to have the discussion wherever they feel comfortable.  Their own online Ning networks, or Facebook groups or local NetMums forum. It really doesn’t matter providing they can access and reuse the content from the event. Now the challenge is listening and collecting this conversations that happen across the web. There are many ways in which this can happen and i’m not going to cover the details in this post, but using RSS, google alerts, Facebook search etc can support this task.

3: Social Media Sites
Providing content via the social media tools and sites that exist will allow others to reuse it, discuss it, provide feedback on it and encourage their friends to do the same.

This approach is about adding value to existing offline activities and or events. I would recommend that once your organisation develops good practice and learning around online engagement and you build a relationship with communities online you can start to reduce offline activity or perhaps get to a point where you can stop doing it for some engagement altogether.

I’ve blogged more elsewhere on this site about social reporting, and written a toolkit about events, but Carl’s post really makes it understandable.

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