Grappling with Social Media

When I was young I assumed that I would eventually arrive at a point where I have enough accumulated information and understanding, the folly of youth. Yet as I get older I have come to realise that OK there are a few subjects I know in depth but increasingly the reality is that I know less and less about more and more and well, that is really annoying.

In the vastness of what I don’t know, I have come to realise that wisdom is collective not individual and good decisions are collaborative. Hearing from a wide diversity of views and working with people with differing life experiences is the key to making the right decisions, but how to find, engage and hear those views is often difficult.

Last Friday was the second ‘sprints’ (that’s workshops to you and me) of the brilliant Networked Councillor programme being delivered in Suffolk by Public-i. In which a group of Suffolk Councillors from across the political divide and county are try to improve our social media skills and thus how we network with our community.

Part of Friday’s process was to identify officers in Councils, who have social media skills that elected members can buddy up with and learn from or together with, and in the short session we had I quickly realised it is learn ‘from’ not ‘with’ in my case, as Matt’s skills far outstrip mine.

Councillor and politicians used to be able to engage with differing opinions in village halls, political rallies and debates but nowadays no one turns up. Some say this is because no one is interested in local politics but as I know from personal experience, discuss the right issue on social media and people will engage. People are still talking and debating but increasingly in different places, in my home village of Lakenheath when I was a boy there were 14 pubs where people gathered, to some extent have a pint but more to hang out and chat with their friends, there are now just 2 pubs left and across the land pubs are closing at an alarming rate but from standing start of some 10 years ago Facebook is worth $26 billion! That actually indicates something to me, people still want to be social, still want to chat and still want to discuss those issues that effect them but it seems to me increasingly in different spaces to say my parents generation.

So for all the learning needed, for all the confusing new things to master, for all the flaming and trolls you acquire, learning to engage with residents through social media is about talking with residents about the issues that affect their lives, communicating the tough choice we all have to make and enriching that decision making process, collectively and in collaboration.

About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal anything I write is promoted by Kerry Buist on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Unit 8, Swan Lane Business Park, Exning, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7FN

One Response to Grappling with Social Media

  1. Matt says:

    Good blog Colin- add some photos next time from the events and remember to check your trends on Twitter to pick the best hashtags!! – Matt (what… you thought I wouldn’t be checking!) 🙂

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