The topic for this #tartantm on Wednesday June 20 is the result of a comment made by one of the speakers at the recent LGComms Academy and a conversation I had with Sarah Lay (@sarahlay) and Nigel Bishop (@ashroplad) when we held our own impromptu breakout session at said Academy.

Over the last few years, in the main, the public sector’s use of social media has followed this pattern:

  • a member of staff starts using social media personally
  • they see the benefits of using it organisationally
  • their suggestion hits the buffers due to fear of it all going wrong or IT rules and regulations, or a combination of both
  • in the social media tradition of JFDI they set up Facebook and Twitter accounts anyway, under the radar with the title of ‘pilot’, just in case
  • something happens, for example, severe snow and school closures, when those channels swing into action and prove their worth
  • senior management sees the light and everyone wants a piece of the action
  • IT decides it was their idea in the first place

However, the more we integrate social media into our day-to-day business the more of an organisational asset it becomes, but the more pinned down by the rules and regulations that come with being an asset, the less social media feels like the fun tool it started out as.

So here are a few points for consideration for the next #tartantm:

  • are the days of JFDI over
  • do we really need social media strategies and policies
  • if we go down the strategy/policy route how do we keep them agile enough for the social media landscape
  • what about the next big thing – how do we turn the laggards at the organisational helm into early adopters
  • do we have to
  • how do we keep tabs of all the organisaion’s social media channels
  • do we need to
  • what should we have in place for when the original, enthusiastic social media evangelist moves on, with all the passwords, logins and knowledge
  • should we let organisational social media accounts have personality
  • what do we do when that personality moves on to another organisation and takes their followers with them

I’m sure plenty more questions and answers will arise in the course of the evening.

Oh, and please do join in the conversation because we have visiting dignitaries at the Glasgow venue. We have Nick Hill (@psfnick), Dan Slee (@danslee), Darren Caveney (@darrencaveney), Andy Mabbett (@pigsonthewing), Helen Reynolds (@HelReynolds), Ben Proctor (@likeaword) and Ally Hook (@allyhook)  who will all be in town for the PSCSF Facebook event the next day.

Things will kick off at 6pm as usual but more venues have still to be confirmed. Watch this space:

As ever, if you can’t make it along in person you can join in the conversation on the night using #tartantm.


The second meeting of #tartantm – Scotland’s first multi-location Twitter meet up  – will build on the buzz and success of the first #tartantm involving public sector comms. This second meeting will expand the audience and debate to include public sector comms AND journalists where we can discuss and highlight experience and best practice.

Wednesday March 28

Multiple venues  across Scotland and on Twitter at #tartantm





Anyone from public sector comms, journalism, academia, students with an interest in news

Many of us are seasoned in the pre-digital orthodoxies of news and information gathering and delivery. We are all using new digital  tools as best we can, but where we can share knowledge and experience and learn from our mistakes, we should.

Suggested topics

  • what is the ideal workspace setup for someone working in digital news
  • the tools we use and how and when we use them
  • how are people consuming emergency information
  • congregation round hashtags – what can we learn
  • should we even try and agree hashtag best practice given the anarchic nature of twitter
  • is there such a thing as a too popular hashtag, for example #bawbag
  • should we ever join a conversation into which we haven’t been invited
  • is there an argument for not doing live coverage or live tweeting such as the London riots, theGlasgow siege or Raoul Moat
  • can it ever be enforced or policed
  • has rolling news made life tougher for us all – is it reasonable for media to expect quicker responses from public bodies at a time of swingeing cuts just because they website and programming to fill
  • FOIs – should the media pay for them
  • should local authorties encourage open access to their meetings by allowing laptops, ipads and should they install wifi and power points in chambers
  • are we being blinded by flash gimmicks – how much of this actually matters

That’s a a pretty good starter for 10 and shoud encourage some lively debate.

February 23, 2012

This morning I’m tired but buzzing.

Last night something exciting happened.

Public sector people got together simultaneously in six Scottish cities to talk about social media – and we put the world to rights.

We chatted, we tweeted to the world and the world tweeted back.

We asked our organisations’ followers for ideas and suggestions about what we should be doing with social media. Some of them told us.

I was at the Glasgow venue and although we didn’t get as many attending as signed up for it there was still lively discussion and debate.

Across the whole of Scotland we talked about:

  • peer education and community project
  • people, young and old, sharing skills and access
  • social media safety
  • visual tweets
  • organisations blocking social media
  • equality of access
  • transparency and good leadership
  • reputation
  • creating hashtags
  • private versus corporate accounts

I could go on but I won’t, you can see it under #tartantm for yourself.

I will be producing some kind of report over the next couple of weeks once I’ve caught up with the other fabulous volunteers at each venue.

Edinburgh and Glasgow also discussed the theme for the next Tartan TweetMeet. Edinburgh is thinking business and Glasgow is thinking the future of journalism.

In true Harry Hill style, ‘There’s only one way to find out . . .’

(If anyone has any other ideas feel free to tweet them to @Cal444)

Is the Scotland ready for its first national TweetMeet?

When: February 22nd, 2012

Where: Every major city in Scotland

Who: Anyone who works in the public sector who is interested in using social media to engage with the public and partners and in building online communities.

How: Sign up to the event so we have a rough idea of numbers at each venue. Turn up from 6pm. Order some food, chat to tweeple In Real Life. Meet new, like-minded social media bods. Tweet conversations you are having using #tartantm. From 7-8pm the public will be invited to tweet their questions and suggestions about how they want us to engage with them using social media. After 8pm it’s up to you but we’ll hopefully still be tweeting to the world.

What we need from you: Once you’ve signed up you just need to talk about the event on whatever social networking channel you use. It’s up to you whether you do it as yourself or officially as your organisation. On the night, when you’re talking to the public, again it’s up to you whether you are yourself or your organisation. If you want to give them an easy way to follow the event while watching other things I’ve created a Tweet Grid so you can share the URL if you think it would be useful.

Registering for the event: