#Digifutures12 Digital Futures Conference – what I’m hoping to learn…

What do you want from your local services online ? What are you expecting to see when you look at your local councils website, or try to check out out your doctors surgery website for information about flu vaccine clinics ? Does your local council have a Facebook , twitter, YouTube or website presence?

The digital futures Shropshire conference is taking place on Monday, and I a shall be attending. I am interested in learning more about how to encourage people to use online services or information. What makes a website a hit or a miss? In this age of austerity I believe organisations have a responsibility to be making sure that they are making the best possible use of resources. This means spending some time considering who is actually using the information that is being provided digitally ? Who is looking at their web pages ? Which groups are missing out on this and what could be done to help change the current status quo ?

Internet has a massive potential for helping information spread about society, communities and special interest groups. As a GP I have an interest in helping people to find and use “quality” websites. I’m a big fan of the concept of getting the information out of the reservoirs and flowing down the pipes to the people that want it. I’m interested in using some of the tips and tricks that social marketing can offer to help to nudge people into a more informed position. What can we learn from those who work in the marketing industry? What examples of social media marketing can you spot at your breakfast table ? On the cereal packets?

I believe that better access to information about local services , councils, sports centres, education, entertainments, clubs and social groups would be a good thing. I am pleased to see more public sector organisations developing websites and experimenting with social media. I appreciate the effort that it takes to set up and run a website. It may appear to be a “cheap” medium to broadcast information, but the sites have to be maintained and refreshed or they can quickly look shabby.

Social media is here to stay .Smart phones will be commonplace in the next 2 years and organisations will need to have some way of interacting with , engaging with and possibly influencing the discussions that take place on whichever social media channel is in vogue. How will organisations adapt to this 24/7 feedback ? He much time and money should be spent on social media and Internet compared to more traditional information ?

Please click on the speech bubble to comment on the post or tweet me @stuartberry1 or use the hash tag #digifutures12 this week.


9 thoughts on “#Digifutures12 Digital Futures Conference – what I’m hoping to learn…

  1. “I believe that better access to information about local services , councils, sports centres, education, entertainments, clubs and social groups would be a good thing. I am pleased to see more public sector organisations developing websites and experimenting with social media.”

    Wholeheartedly agree with this and I’d like to see the introduction of message boards and other social media tools aimed at sharing ideas on food provision, cooking and budgeting especially in less affluent areas in attempt to improve health thought a better diet. Perhaps if the government introduced a tax on high salt, sugar and fat in foods the revenue could fund some of these ideas.

      1. None at the moment but Labour (Fabian Society) are already debating the unhealthy food tax which, if allied to the ever growing obesity problem, lack of physical education in schools and reorganisation of the NHS, may give politicians an easer ride when trying to sell the idea of ring fencing some of the tax revenue.

      2. Deciding where the resources come from to fund digital connectivity is a separate debate to the one that asks. What , where , why , how & when will services & organisations Maximise their digital potential.

  2. Hi Stuart
    I’m speaking tomorrow and really pleased to know that some people from the health sector are going. Please say hello as I’d love to have a chat.
    Hi Rob
    I’m involved in a project at the moment which is visualising data from LB Lambeth which is around their food strategy. At the moment this is focused on food poverty and growing food, but there is lots of potential with the web tool we are developing to mash up data around obesity with deprivation data and information about food prices, takeaway outlets and so on. Do ge tin touch if you want to hear more.

    1. Thanks Vicky, I’m only an interested amateur but would love to hear more from your project. I live in one of the poorer areas of East Lancashire and tried a few years ago via a Patient Participation Group to raise the profile of social media with the aim of engaging young people from a health perspective. Good luck tomorrow!

  3. Interesting stuff Stuart. In part building on your blogpost and in part responding to it, I think there needs to be a paradigm shift in how many public services are approaching social media.

    Firstly orgs need to go where people are, so rather than encourage the public to go online, organisations need to better understand their audiences habits – define, segment and learn how best to listen and engage. Secondly. What their needs are must be understood.Thirdly strategic organisational aims and objectives need to be dusted down and messaging agreed before considering how to engage. Finally evaluate, make mistakes and learn. Crucially this needs to be sustainable so planning will be pivotal. Just my opinion.


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