#LocalGovCamp – the view of a newbie

So, here it is then. My first ever blog. I’m quite excited about writing it, although you may have already clicked the back button. The event which has prompted this potentially life changing moment was #localgovcamp.

The Twitter feeds before the event held great anticipation and those during the event showed much enthusiasm, but I am slightly disappointed by the few blogs I have read post-event. There seems to be an undercurrent that we got something wrong, that it could have been better, that we need to apologise for something.

I wanted to share with you how it was for a novice, a beginner, someone who arrived at the social media party very late – and who apologised for it all day – and to share exactly what I got from it.

Confession time, I hadn’t sent a single tweet until I attended #shropcamp only 2 months before. I sat in a room with my spiral bound note book surrounded by plug in notebooks and people who knew so much about social media, blogs, apps, open data, hyperlocal, yammer and it seemed, all things tech related.

Working for Shropshire Family Information Service @ShropFamilyInfo I’d gone along to find out more about the basics.

I was fired up after #shropcamp, ready to go and became a sponge for all I could learn.

Booking onto #localgovcamp was for me the chance to still discuss the basics but to take it to the next level. I knew I wouldn’t be able to contribute much, and for that I felt bad. We’d all come to learn something and I couldn’t give anything, afterall, what do I know??

I attended sessions on taking it beyond social media, looking at how apps can be used in safeguarding children. I heard about Patchwork, Total Place and Cloud Technology, we even talked QR codes.

My mind was blown at the Identity session and made me question ‘who are we, really?’ ‘how do we manage multiple identities?’

Social Media in emergencies made me think about who our digital communities are, and how we need to be working with them before any emergency. Reporting of emergencies will be happening through social media regardless of whether we are ready for it, so lets get ready for it.

Finally the performance and monitoring session made me focus on how we can turn the figures into outcomes. What impact have we had to the lives of families in Shropshire, while at the same time identifying the influences we have.

By attending I was also able to meet, face to face, some of the amazing people who I had followed, and those that had helped me so far – signposted me, shared blogs, shared ideas, and who just basically made me feel welcome at the social media party. I was also able to slip in a quick Take That chat with @sarahlay

I knew I would come away from #localgovcamp with a massive to do list and it was true. There were lots of topics I didn’t have a clue about but I knew I would be able to come away, spend the time I needed to research those, and evaluate the potential for my service. I also knew I would come away with new people to follow, who I would be able to learn from. And I also knew that I would be able to come away with ideas, inspiration, enthusiasm, and a confirmed belief that social media really would enhance my service and extend our reach. For me I got out of it all I came for.

Looking through the very useful Social Media/Local Gov Jargon list handed out at the start of the event I see there is an actual term for me, a ‘Newbie – (adj.) Someone who is new to social media. They should be helped and assisted. No, seriously, they should. We were all noobies once and in many ways we still are.’

I’m not going to apologise anymore for being new to all this, yes I’m a few years behind but I have made it and that was the main thing. Here’s to the next #camp and defiantly to the next #cake

@katebentham

20th June 2011

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One thought on “#LocalGovCamp – the view of a newbie

  1. Great post Kate, I’m also a relative newcomer to social media and agree that the newbies should be helped and assisted.

    Localgovcamp 2011 was my first unconference, I came away with a head full of ideas, sad that I can’t make it to Local Gov Camp 2012 but I’m sure it will be a fantastic day : )

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