Blogging for and about Youth Work and Young People

Posts tagged ‘strategy’

LGBTU Strategy Development (2)

The LGBTU strategy working group met recently and we’ve definately started to move forward. I have been working with two other colleagues to draw together the threads of the strategy and we’re almost there! We’ve also had some good discussions about how we might move this forward and how we will engage young people who identify as LGBTU in its development. As well as involving them in developing the strategy we are keen to organise some county wide events and look at how we brand our LGBTU work here in West Sussex.

Some interesting areas that came up for discussion were the age range of the

Courtesy of David Paul Ohmer

Courtesy of David Paul Ohmer

young people involved in the groups we are looking to develop and the policies we might want to have around this area of work. A colleague is undertaking some research into policies and good practice and I would welcome any feedback anyone may have with regards to these. In particular we are looking at age range, location and ‘entrance’ to the group.

At the moment I think that we will be looking at potentially working with 2 age groups (13-18/19 and then 19-25yrs) due to the differing needs. With regards to access and publicising groups, it appears that good practice is to advertise a telephone number and then the individual can arrange to meet with a youth worker before taking part in the group. I also like the groundrules / group agreement format that Outreach Youth have posted on their website.

If anyone else has any other suggestions please do post them or contact me. And for those of you still learning and understanding the need for work in this area have a look at this blog post.

Work on our Social Media Strategy finally Begins!

Hurray! On Tuesday we finally held our first learning and working group meeting to develop the Social Media Strategy for West Sussex Youth Service. For newcomers I’ve previously written about this here and here. It was great to be meeting up again so long after our training with Mediasnackers. Colleagues experience ranged from those who only know a bit about social networks etc to others with substantial technological expertise.

We discussed the way forward, in particular brainstorming the reasons why we wanted to use social media. This led to some interesting debates about innovation and thinking outside of the box.  For some of the group the focus was more on learning about what was currently out there and how we could make use of these tools to enhance youth workers practice rather than actually changing or using the tools in a different way.

Part of the time was also set aside to share our own online discoveries and current practice. This was a useful way for colleagues to learn more about online possibilities and to gain more experience. We finished off sharing out a number of tasks with a view to posting them on our own ning site prior to meeting again in a few weeks.

There’s a few urgent areas we need to move on. I’ve been visiting a few centres recently and know that young people are using computers in them without any guidance posted in relation to both safety online and acceptable use. I’m also aware of centres publicising their activities on SNS and colleagues using their personal profiles online. Without wanting to restrict colleagues and young people I think that these are areas we need to address as soon as possible for all concerned.

Social Media Strategy developments

As I’ve detailed before I’m responsible for developing our Social Media strategy. To kick start this the social media staff group (made up of colleagues from across the service) had some training from Mediasnackers. Following that we have had a few discussions but due to pressure of time we haven’t been able to move as quickly on this as I would have hoped. 

Courtesy of Dave Press

Courtesy of Dave Press

However a couple of colleagues went to the UKyouthonline unconference and have developed some more ideas and finally we’re now able to support and finance this group meeting up once every 6 weeks to both talk, share, develop and practice online social networking, social media skills and explore the free tools available. I think this will be a real asset to our work and starts to get youth workers skilled up and versed in using the various tools out there and understanding how they could / might affect their work.

I’m really pleased that we’ve got this far, especially as this is only a part of our regular work.  I’m now looking forward to pulling together a lot of the information that we’ve collected to put together our own strategy and to look at how we can maximise opportunities for young people. Watch this space!

Social Media Training with MediaSnackers

Wow! What a great and informative few days we had last week. A group of 10 of us from across the county got together for 2 days of training by MediaSnackers, I’ll talk a bit more about it in a moment but why write when you can see a more dynamic version so…..

Thanks DK and team!!!!

As you can see we were enthralled! The training gave us a good overview of lots of different sites that we could use both between ourselves as professionals as well as with young people and demystified alot of the technology (I even understand all about my RSS feeds now, something I’d managed to sort of pick up but isn’t it so much quicker when someone shows you how?!?!)

I think one of the real ‘in your face’ aspects of the training was that with very limited hardware (a few cameras and some mobile phones) and a little know how you can actually quickly design some great looking, funky sites, create polls and share lots of information. Having the chance to explore Bebo was quite eye opening to all of us as it was really easy and as Tim Davies  mentions on the Youth and Social Networking Research Project Blog  it’s amazing how much you can learn in such a short space of time. Tims’ also developed a one pager on how to get started on Bebo but really the best way to work out what it can do is to go and have a go yourself, try it out! With so many young people interested and using the site it has to be easy!

The training really brought home to us how little we think and use the internet in developing our work and just made us realise how much more we needed to get to grips with the technology. However for me the fundamental questions still need to be answered, how are we best going to use this, and developing technology to do or support our youthwork? And on we go towards our social media strategy!!!!

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.

Still learning….

I still seem to have a few problems putting images up so I have been looking at how I do it. This one is an experiment to see how the whole slide thing works and comes courtesy of Tim Davies and his work on the Youth and Social Networking Research Project with the NYA. (And hosted by Slideshare.)

 

It looks like it’s working!

In researching information for developing a Social Media Strategy I have found this and other information that Tim has been posting really useful. I have almost established a working group of interested people across the county who are representative of all the staff here and we are going to be starting soon. I was wondering if there is anyone else out there who have already developed a strategy in this area? Any pointers, tips or suggestions would be welcome as always!

 

 

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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