Last night I finally managed to get along to one of the Edinbuzz Social Media Surgeries, this time at Leith’s McDonald Road Library. The event was buzzing, with around 8 ‘surgeons’ and easily as many ‘patients’.
Although this was my first such surgery, I’ve done various similar things in the past, from running drop-in computing workshops in public libraries to full-on adult education courses, so I was prepared for the challenges that the evening might have presented.
As it turned out, the event ran very smoothly, ably orchestrated by organiser @tomallan.
WordPress for beginners and feeding Twitter
I spent the bulk of the session with Kerry, a PR person who was hoping to start blogging for a local arts initiative. We chatted about the various factors – including issues of budget and technical ability – before settling on WordPress as a good place to start. With that, we headed over to wordpress.com and within a few minutes, Kerry was blogging.
Once that was conquered, we just had enough time to pop over to Twitter, where Kerry had already set up an account and started to follow people. The main problem was that she didn’t really see ‘the point’, and on inspection of her account I could see why – she had never actually tweeted. Again, within a few minutes we’d posted a mention and a retweet, and my advice was for her to go away and feed her account as much as possible. Only by doing that, I said, would other people actually have reason to follow her back – and that would be when the conversations could start.
I hope Kerry went away with a lot more confidence than she arrived with. She was undoubtably keen and, I suspect, just needed someone to tell her she was doing the right things, pressing the right buttons, and that, crucially, she wasn’t going to break anything. Hopefully she will also take this all back to her own volunteer work, to help them maximise their use of these channels.
I found the session personally very rewarding – being a wonderful chance to extol the virtues of these wonderful tools and rave about how I (in all truth) have found the likes of Twitter to be life-changing. I was delighted to see such enthusiasm from all who attended, and I hope the surgeries will continue, in one form or another, for a long time to come.