South Lanarkshire UNISON hosted an interesting Social Media Seminar on Monday 25 August, highlighting the need to embrace this technology as an important element in any organisation’s communications strategy, complementing the more traditional means of getting messages out to our members.
Like many of us, Carolyne Mitchell,, South Lanarkshire Council’s information officer, would describe herself as a late developer in digital terms. As well as being responsible for the Council’s use of social media, Carolyne is now an ardent social media user herself. The rate of change of the internet and the growing interaction with users has been phenomenal and it’s an opportunity that cannot be ignored – especially as the generations of digital natives are starting to hit the workforce.
Warning of the digital dossier – Carolyne described the digital tracks that an individual leaves behind from the first ultrasound scan right right through to their ultimate demise and beyond. Indeed, Leah Lockhart from the Scottish Government, advised that the use of Google and other search engines amasses information from users’ searches to target advertisements at individuals.
Alison Jaconelli from UNISON Scotland’s Disabled Members Group explained that they wanted more control of their communications, so set up a Facebook page, and a Twitter account. This has allowed the group not only to build awareness of their work within UNISON and get information out to members quickly, but has also given them the opportunity to challenge the public’s perceptions, drawing people in through the clever use of photos and videos.
Alison also explained how they are now giving people the option to participate in their committee meeting via video conference. This has been a marked success.
Jim McCann, Emcom, a company that assists small business in facing the digital challenges, emphasised that it’s not just young people who use social media and it’s a great low cost and immediate means of getting out to members. Watch this space!