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Generating an Edinbuzz

3 February 2011

Social media expertise collided with passionate community members a few nights ago, producing some fresh ideas and approaches on how tools like Facebook and Twitter could help get more people actively involved in their communities.

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Community members get excited about social media

I took part in my first Social Media Surgery, which was organized by Edinbuzz and met at the Oxgangs library. (In the UK ‘surgery’ refers not only to medical operations but also to consultations… Members of Parliament regularly have surgeries with their constituents). Here was a chance for social media experts to have one-on-one consultations with local community members, to help them discover how social media could help them engage with their networks.

Hot topics were how to set up a Facebook Group, issues of privacy and security (one gentleman was keen to explain to us how very dangerous it all was… but was still very curious!) and how Twitter works. Seeing how the event came together was a good example of social media at its best.

We had some general questions about social media:

  • Why is it useful?
  • How will it help me reach out to my community?
  • What can I do with it?
  • Should I sign up for all the different sites I know about?
  • What’s the difference between Twitter and email?

Everyone was really positive and enthusiastic about trying out these tools to share information with their communities and to engage them in planning processes, community events and consultations.

The surgeon and the patients

The surgeon and the patients

Achievements included…

  • Getting “like this” and “tweet this” set up for the Firrhill Community Council website as well as establishing a new Firhill Community Council Facebook page.
  • Introducing someone to Google Analytics and showing him how it could help him understand social media fits into his group’s main website.
  • Introducing someone to using Facebook to connect to friends and pages.
  • People agreed that social media was key to getting young people more engaged in their communities
  • Agreeing that social media isn’t going away anytime soon so the best approach is to embrace it!

The Edinbuzz surgeries have a unique approach to learning. Very loosely organized, no set agenda, and very much driven by what people want to learn. For me it’s been a great opportunity to meet people in my city and in my community, and work together with them to deploy social media to reach out and engage with others.

To get involved, or to learn more, check out the Edinbuzz Facebook page.


Thanks to fellow surgeons Nicola OsborneTom Allan, Jane Griffin and Al Guinness for their contributions to this post. Photos from Tom Allan’s Flickr.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 3 February 2011 11:48

    Sounds great. I always enjoy the pleasure people get out of being involved with a social media surgery. Good luck with the rest.

    • 4 February 2011 09:54

      Thanks Nick! it was good fun, looking forward to the next one.

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