I gave a presentation last week to other teams in the public relations division here. They covered an overview of social media and its use in online communications.

Generally I think the presentations were well received and hopefully will help us make some moves on updating existing policies and making use of relevant social media to evolve our online communications. There were also some really interesting discussions in both of the groups and I wanted to make a note about these.


Explaining what social media is was a fairly wide remit so I decided to give a very quick explanation of some of the terms commonly used, see who in the sessions used social networks and then look at online as a communication channel.

The majority of people in the sessions were members on Facebook, a few were on Twitter, a couple on LinkedIn. There were some who used Flickr and had watched videos on YouTube. Everyone used Google Maps but didn’t really customise them, no-one had heard of Ning, no-one blogged. I found this really interesting and it was useful to have discussions about preferred communication channels and why they did / didn’t use online networks.

I borrowed heavily from Al Smith’s presentation from PSF Buzz NE (find out more on his blog) and also from Dave Briggs‘ Four Steps to Social Media success presentation (which you can find out more about here). This got the groups thinking and in the first session we had lots of discussion about how / who and why was going to monitor online conversations about the organisation online.

In the second group the discussion was more focused on the need to develop policy / strategy and we’ll be having more conversations about this soon. In both sessions we talked a lot about demographics of online use, the way this might change and what that means for us as an organisation.

I very briefly touched on augmented reality with both groups and they were interested and excited by this.

I think this was a good start to getting others in public relations more confident with online and I’ve had some good feedback (and some excellent ideas and questions) since this morning.

I must also thank Al Smith for sharing with me his anecdote about turning round some negative sentiment in a Facebook group while we were chatting at googlelocalgov. I regaled the group (well, I repeated the story) as part of my presentation this morning and it really helped to give a real example of how we could be working between online and offline. In a coincidental act of synchronicity while I was telling the story Al was writing it up as a case study so you can read the detail on his blog.

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