Blogging for and about Youth Work and Young People

Posts tagged ‘networking’

Youth Work Online Unconference

For those of you that haven’t yet picked it up or read it on the Youth Work online ning there will be an unconference this year on 11th July. You can find out more about the Connected Generation: 2009 unconference on online engagement here on Tims blog.

It’s free to attend, in the same place in Central London as last years thanks to Steph Grey and DIUS, and registration is now open.

If you work with young people and are interested in developing ways in which you can use social media and online technologies to engage and work with them then this unconference is an ideal opportunity to meet others and discuss how to make this a reality. It’s  an opportunity to explore big ideas, and the practical realities of weaving the web into work with young people so head on over to Tims site and register now!!

What I have learnt from Blogging so far

Mike Amos-Simpson has written an article, both in Children and Young People Now and also online about the development of online resources as a tool for youth work professionals as much as for young people. In commenting on his post it has led me to reflect on what I have learnt since I took the plunge into the blogosphere.

As a complete novice I was quite intimidated by the ‘net’ and concerned about various factors, in particular:-

  • Blogging whilst working for a local authority as there are no guidelines
  • What colleagues might think and whether it would affect my relationships with them
  • Whether I actually had anything of relevance to say

In trying it out I’ve discovered not only that my concerns were unfounded but also a whole new community and abundance of resources that have stretched my thinking and pushed me to look outside of the norm for solutions. Online forums have opened up a realm of possibilities for sharing and developing work across both the county and the country, bookmarking sites have now become a major resource when I’m seeking information on different topics (along with other peoples’ blogs) and I’ve discovered virtual worlds and social games which I’m still getting my head round and trying to work out how I can use them in my current work.

Mainly it has been a change to my mindset. Blogging has helped me to:-

  • Be more reflective,
  • Think about (and place ) my work in both a local and national context
  • Learn from others
  • Understand how I can do things differently in order to communicate with colleagues more effectively, work collaboratively and share my ideas and thoughts with a wider community

So what’s stopping you?!?!?!

Social Media Training

Well, we’ve finally managed to get organised and have now booked in some social media training for July. I’m really excited by this as I’m hoping that this will be the kick start to a number of ideas, primarily getting our strategy together as to how, what and where we’re going to try and use social media professionally. I think it’ll be an interesting time as we are hoping to include a number of young people to train alongside us so that we can gain a better perspective and all be starting (ish) from the same (ish) point.

I’m intrigued by the dialogue that Mike Amos-Simpson over at the Late Breakfast Society Blog initiated with regards to how youth work might look on line (a very simplified abreviation of his post) and Tim Davies reply on  the Youth Work and Social Networking Research Project blog.   Soppa comments on an earlier post that a group in Finland have set up a Youth House (similar to a youth centre) on Habbo but as their site is all in Finnish I am awaiting some more information on that. We’ve also started to look at how we might have a ‘Virtual Connexions Centre’ and I hope that we will be able to look at all these areas through our Social Media strategy discussions.

What type of blog?

I’ve been thinking more about this blog and trying to work out what I should or should not include on it. It’s been interesting reading Tim’s Blog and his thoughts on his guiding principles and his reflections on developing his blog. It made me think what and why I was blogging….and when should I blog? I guess I thought that I would just write but now I’m wondering if I should become more focussed and target my posts on specific subjects. For those that have been blogging a while, is it a case of planning or developing principles or is it just having a go and refining it as you go along? I think Im concerned that if I make it too structured I might not write but if its too waffly then it might not be that interesting.  

Then there is the 7 reasons to blog and why aren’t statutory youth workers blogging. It’s an interesting debate. I think there are a number of potential reasons why it’s hard, or why they haven’t started yet. As a Senior Manager in the Statutory Sector I thought it worthwhile giving this a go after hearing from DK at Mediasnackers. However I frequently ask myself – what can I put in the public domain? How can I ensure that whilst I am as honest and truthful about my experiences I don’t post anything that will bring the authority into disrepute or reflect badly on either the organisation or colleagues? What should I blog about? How can I maximise the networking and sharing elements of this blog? And then the big question – when should I do this? Is it appropriate to use ‘work’ time to write? If not do I really want to use a lot of my own time to blog? I think that if I have all these questions and feel that I am in a position to resolve them then how difficult must it be for some of my colleagues? They already have limited time available and should they / can they spend time doing this as opposed to working with young people? Or should we build in reflective practice time and encourage more individuals to link and develop blogs to do this? 

And then there is the questions of IT skills, particularly in an authority that is only just getting off the ground with a website and where colleagues are gradually getting to grips with an online monitoring information system.   I like the Blogging for Youth Workers guide and think that this could be really useful for those who don’t know how.  I’m aiming to share this with others to get their thoughts re this. One of my future tasks is to put together a small working group to develop a Social Media Strategy. As this is still new to me any thoughts would be welcome, especially as there is so much appearing in the regular media at the moment. (Mostly negative!)

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