Social Media Surgeries – A Patients Perspective

This time last year I was someone who had a lack of knowledge on the possibilities of social media. Yes, I had set up accounts on Facebook and Twitter for the Local Government service I manage, and whilst I had objectives for doing so, I didn’t really have the skills to be able to implement fully.

I realised that I needed some practical support on how to execute the social media tools we had chosen and to also begin exploring what other social media tools may be of benefit to my service in reaching existing and potential customers.

Someone mentioned a free Social Media Surgery might be a useful place to start. These have been established to help the voluntary sector and individuals within local communities develop skills to use social media tools and share knowledge on the options available. In my area they take place every couple of months and it was easy to book a place online.

So, what did I find when I got there?

The Operating Room

  • It was a central location with easy access and plenty of parking
  • I don’t have to take any equipment with me, there were computers available which were all connected to the internet, although I did take a pen and some paper to make any notes
  • I found refreshments (it’s always good to be near a bit of #cake)
  • It’s good to get there for the start but I don’t have to stay for the whole session, ‘patients’ left when they had found out what they wanted.

The Patients

  • There were about 8 other patients who I met at the start and all with a similar level of knowledge as myself.
  • We were all there to find out something new, to learn and to have a go.
  • The reasons for people attended varied
  • A volunteer wanted to set up a website for a charity they supported
  • A Granma wanted to set up Facebook account to keep in touch with her daughter and grandchildren who had moved to Australia
  • Someone wanted to find out more about which sites were better for setting up a blog and how to go about it
  • Someone wanted to find out more about Twitter and how to set up an account to share community news for his village

The Surgeons

  • There were about 5 friendly surgeons who were all welcoming and made me feel at ease right away
  • The Surgeons were volunteers, giving up their time to help people within their community
  • Their knowledge and skills may have come from the work they do or they may just have an interest in social media
  • They found out how much knowledge each patient had and pitched it at the right level.
  • They didn’t overly use technical terms or jargon.
  • Some surgeons helped a few patients in a group and some on a one to one basis, depending on topic areas and numbers
  • I came away from the session full of information, ideas and motivation to implement what I had learnt and to explore further the possibilities that were available to be professionally and personally. It was a really useful place to start and I would highly recommend them to anyone who finds want to know more about social media. Thanks to #shrewssms

You can find your local Social Media Surgery here.


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