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Teacambs in 2014 – Thurs 30 January, John Lewis Cafe, 4:30pm

by on 22 January 2014

For those of you on Facebook, add the event in your calendar by clicking here.

Hello everyone!

We hope you all had a restful Christmas break, and have kicked off 2014 with lots of energy and new ideas. Well…nice to try and start on a positive note despite the very tough times many of you are experiencing in the workplace.

Some Teacambs regulars will be heading to UKGovCamp on 25 January 2014 at City Hall, London. This is traditionally where the great and the good from public sector social media gather for a big unConference – where we decide the agenda on the day rather than in advance. It’s also on a weekend so none of us get paid for it either. Puffles will be helping out on the day as per last year, and lots of us will be live-tweeting on the hashtag #UKGC14 too.

The outlook for 2014 in Cambridgeshire

There are a number of interesting social and digital media-related activities that a number of local councils are involved in – something that we hope several of you will be willing to volunteer to speak about at teacambs gatherings this year. We also hope to have our first teacambs gathering outside of Cambridge this year, following conversations with our friends at Huntingdonshire District Council and with some of the town and parish councils in late 2013.

Shape your place – social media for social action

Other parts of the county are beginning to catch up with the early pioneers of the county’s community website (see here). Ashley Whittaker and friends on the SYP team in Cambridgeshire County Council have been training up more people across the county on how to use the website, and have also been training up young people on becoming community reporters. Puffles and Antony, being outside the public sector have been turning up to council meetings in Cambridge to encourage elected councillors to use the website too. 2013 saw some firsts for Cambridge, including a live surgery with Cllr Amanda Taylor (see here), and first time users experimenting with digital video and photography to show what is going on in our local communities.

Connecting Cambridgeshire

November 2013 saw the launch of new broadband services for rural areas otherwise not served by the market. (See the news release here). Expect to see more on this throughout 2014.

Open data – Cambridgeshire Insight

This might sound very technical or a dry subject, but open data is now becoming the backbone of services that some of us perhaps now take for granted. Think of the live bus times, both the app and the website (see here). These services are enabled because of the release of live real-time data that means citizens don’t have to spend ages at bus stops waiting for buses. On electronic media, we are also seeing more imaginative ways of displaying data in a way that people can understand quickly and easily. See Cambridgeshire Insight for more.

Teaching people how to use social media

It’s all very well making things available online, but is there something to be said for helping people use social media in their communities? This is where the charity Cambridge Online is helping. Through the Net-Squared Cambridge group (see here), their free social media surgeries have increased in frequency from once every quarter to monthly. Numbers of people attending has also risen. If you know anyone or any community group that wants to learn more about social media, put them in touch with Cambridge Online on 01223 300 407 or at “help [at] cambridgeonline [dot] org [dot] uk”.

Reaching out to students and young people

There are a number of interesting activities that the further education colleges and universities across the county are undertaking. The National Citizens Service programme in East Anglia has social media at the heart of what it does with young people. Participants have been live-tweeting on their outward-bound activities, posting Facebook updates on their community action and creating digital videos for their graduation presentations. In early spring, as part of Cambridge University’s ‘Green Week’ we will see a large ‘Skills Fest’ event being kindly hosted by Anglia Ruskin Students Union, supported by Transition Cambridge and the Cambridge Hub. This event aims to bring several different societies and communities together under a sustainability and community-building theme. This might also be an opportunity to experiment with some new approaches to social and digital media with younger audiences too.

Teacambs for Thurs 30 January – John Lewis Cafe, 3rd Floor, Grand Arcade, Cambridge. 4:30pm

We’ve had an offer from the Cambridgeshire Insights team to introduce their work, plus we will also be feeding back new learning from UKGovCamp in London scheduled for the weekend before.

Is there something you would like to discuss or showcase at Teacambs?

In the past, we have had guest speakers from community groups, local councils and from Whitehall. We get a good range of people coming along to teacambs too – it’s not just public sector local government types. We’ve had friends from schools and colleges – students, teachers and management, community activists, the uniformed services, freelancers and those in the private sector, civil servants and even elected councillors coming along.

Would you like to come to teacambs but are having problems getting management approval?

Sometimes this can be a barrier – but one that we can help try and overcome. What matters is not what grade you are at, what your expertise is or even your current role. What matters is that you are interested and passionate about social and digital media in the public sector. Some people come along with expertise to share, others come along to listen and learn, – though most do both. People who come along have often found it useful to meet with people who are coming up against similar issues in their workplaces, or perhaps have met someone who has helped resolve a problem they are facing in their organisation.

Find us on Facebook (see here)

Find us on Twitter at @Teacambs


Photograph by Alex Jackson from UKGovCamp 2013 of Antony with Puffles the Dragon Fairy


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