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New organisations coming along to Teacambs, new Facebook page & some FAQs

by on 14 June 2012

Some of you may have spotted Puffles the dragon fairy (local Twitter dragon familiar with Cambridge and Whitehall) going after a number of local public sector organisations in an attempt to get them on board. It seems to be paying dividends so far – with Cambridge City CouncilThe East of England Ambulance TrustCambridgeshire Police andCambridgeshire Fire and Rescue all showing interest. (Staff from Cambridgeshire County Council are already on board and have been essential in getting Teacambs up and running). Many thanks to those of you that have got back to us.

New Facebook page for Teacambs

Teacambs is on Facebook! We’ve put a host of links up on our new fanpage which covers many of the topics and issues that were discussed in the first three gatherings that we had. Feel free to add comments, like and share with friends and colleagues.

In terms of web presence, part of the challenge of any group, network or organisation is how to choose the right platforms & make them work in a manner that makes them greater than the sum of their parts. Teacambs is no different. We’re aware that a number of you are in the same position. Teacambs is an ideal informal forum to share learning, fears and problems around how to make social media work for your organisation. We also want to learn from you too!

I’m not from the public sector – am I still allowed to come along?

Of course! One of the things that makes “the mother ship” – Teacamp in London work is that people from beyond the public sector attend and input into what is going on. Throughout Cambridgeshire we have some of the brightest minds in the country working in local industry. We’d be crazy not to want to tap into that expertise! Given that some of the things our local public sector organisations are working on stand to benefit the local economy – such as dealing with traffic congestion, it’s also an opportunity for you to help find some solutions too.

I have a social-media-related work problem. Can you help?

We can try! What others have done at other ‘teacamp’ style gatherings is they have invited people to bring specific problems or issues along. We can’t promise to solve everything – or anything, but the discussions that stem from such actions more often than not help things along.

Do I have to be working in communications in order to go to Teacambs?

No! We also don’t want communications teams to be ‘territorial’ about who comes along and who does not. Enthusiastic and interested people from beyond communications teams are more than welcome too!

This is one of the misconceptions about social media. Organisations all-too-often see social media as a function for a communications unit. It’s not. The way people are using social media means that people will want to get through to the ‘decision maker’ who can help them deal with whatever the issue is. They don’t want to be ‘fobbed off’ with a ‘line to take’. Therefore it’s essential that organisations accept social media goes beyond a communications unit. If you don’t work within a communications unit, that’s no problem with us. You are still more than welcome to join us.

My line manager/organisation won’t let me come along to Teacambs – they say social media is not part of my job!

Have you made the case to your manager or organisation? For some of you it may mean having to write a short business case depending on the nature of your organisation and your grade. For me, the three main arguments for going are that you’ll learn new things, you’ll meet new people from your local sister organisations and you’ll be able to contribute something to our gatherings.

What grade do I have to be in order to come along to Teacambs?

You can be the chief executive officer of your organisation or you can be the most junior or administrative officers. You can be pounding the streets on the front line or never see the light of day in a windowless office – or as in the case of one of the team behind Teacambs, you can be a dragon’s best friend. What matters is your enthusiasm and desire to make a contribution. We would rather have a gathering of people from junior grades with the desire to make a difference than a group of more disinterested people from senior grades who felt they were only attending because it was required for the job. Coming along to Teacambs gatherings should not be a requirement for anyone’s job. We want you to come along to Teacambs because you want to come along to Teacambs.

I’m an elected councillor – please can I come along?

Of course! However, you will need to be mindful that there might be one or two people nervous at the idea of politicians being there. In order to deal with this, we may need to develop a couple of conventions – such as not raising anything that could be seen as party-political. Essentially see your presence as that of a civic leader – there to support, contribute and learn.

My (public sector) organisation ‘doesn’t do social media’

Chances are it won’t remain that way for long. The seismic change on organisational attitudes towards social media (as far as the public sector is concerned) has come about through the publication of new guidance from Cabinet Office. The guidance is here. A couple of us behind Teacambs fed into the development of this guidance. (Reflected by the mention of a certain local dragon fairy in that media release from Cabinet Office).

If your organisation is currently or about to take the first tentative steps into the world of social media, come and join us. There are a number of people who have been using social media for years and are more than happy to share their learning with you!

(This update written by Antony Carpen – all opinions are his!)

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