Tartan Tweetmeet (in 500 words or less)

In the spirit of Twitter’s conciseness, I’m keeping this below 500 words. This was originally posted on my own blog.

Last night’s Tartan Tweetmeet was, by all accounts, a great success.

The national event, which took place in 6 cities across Scotland, allowed public sector tweeps to get together and talk social media. Attendees were encouraged to tweet using the #tartantm hashtag, to help cross-fertilise the conversations, and the general public were also invited to tweet their questions to add to the mix.

I helped arrange the Edinburgh event with @LockhartL and it was wonderful to see so many keen folk turning up to meet new people, share their knowledge and learn new things.

Tartan Tweetmeet badge saying I am James @prettysimple

My Tweetmeet badge

I tried to “live-tweet” but that’s pretty tricky in the midst of deep and meaningful conversations. We did monitor the tweets coming in, though, and fed many of the questions into the chat.

The following are just a few nuggets from my conversations:

You can get some intriguing insights by looking at your followers and who else they are following. One organisation spotted that most of their followers also followed the local bus company, suggesting most of them are bus users. This could inform new ways of reaching that audience – for example, ads on buses.

It’s tricky to balance the potential scope of a large, diverse organisation’s Twitter account vs the specific, individual interests of followers. One idea I discussed was using something like Yahoo Pipes to filter relevant tweets by keyword, pumping out the resulting content via RSS. I’m preparing a separate blog post on that so watch this space.

What’s worse: too many tweets from a Council or not enough? This great question, posted by @ruthiehooch and picked up for discussion in Edinburgh, sums up the previous issue faced by large organisations. One common response was “quality over quantity” and I broadly agree with that. However, Twitter is a fast, transient medium with a short attention span. You can easily get lost in the streams and you do have feed it sufficiently to be noticed.

It’s crucial to have support and buy-in from senior management. No matter how enthusiastic staff are, it is essential that the culture of the organisation is ready for social media. I heard from a few people whose efforts were perhaps being frustrated by a lack of joined-up thinking or a misunderstanding of the potential of social media. Without that receptive setting, any efforts to innovate are likely to flounder.

Social media is a solution, but we should be concentrating on identifying the problems and designing for them. If you walk around with a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. As I’ve recently blogged, Facebook isn’t always the solution and it’s crucial to spend time working out the problems before you get too distracted by possible solutions.

That’s all for now. Plenty more discussions to be had and a future event already being discussed for March 28th. Follow the blog at http://tartantweeple.wordpress.com and I’ll see some of you next time.

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Gavin Crosby 8 Years Ago
thanks James, sorry to miss it, but was talking interactive youth work map - which will have a social media flavour we hope Gavin