We’re about 80 per cent of the way through our Digital Fortnight activities within BIS. I’ll blog more on the team blog about what we’ve learnt and achieved from all the sessions that have taken place, There’s a lot to evaluate from 10 days and 22 events. but I thought this was a good time to reflect on a couple of sessions and themes that we’ve had.
Tim’s blogged on how some of our sessions have got bogged down with what he calls the T bomb: the distraction that is Twitter. And it does seem to be a distraction, with people assuming that it’s all there is to digital, and not seeing beyond 140 characters to the other engagement opportunities that are out there, even when they might be using them in their daily lives.
But, ironically, we were able to make use of that distraction in a couple of sessions to get people at least thinking that digital is more about communicating and engagement as it is about any particular platform. Jo Swinson spoke compellingly in a sold out session about her experiences using Twitter and Facebook to reach out, and in our Tweet up, we were hopefully able to encourage people to think “OK, I’ve tweeted, what next”. Time will tell.
Then we had our 90 minute sessions on Wednesday and Thursday of this week – where we took pains to stress the link with open policy making and career development offered by digital And outlined the main elements of our new microsite for policy makers. We ended these workshops by getting people to feed back to us on 3 separate areas:
- Barriers to engagement
- Next steps that could be taken
- What we as a digital team could do next to support wider engagement
We got our usual mix of cynicism – “this isn’t really for me”, “where can I find the time” and “people will think I’m wasting my time” – expressed within these sessions. But we also had a few lightbulb moments that made it all worthwhile: I love the audible oohs and ahhs we get (in any training session) when we show how people can delve deeper into Google search, and people did seem to respond to the fact that they can add substance to their briefing by drilling deeper into social conversations. And, even nicer, were the people who came up to us and said “I hadn’t thought of that before” or “thank you: I now realise what all the fuss is about”.
As I’ve said already, there’s still a lot of work to do to evaluate what next steps we take and the rest of digital fortnight to get through, but it’s those lightbulb moments that have made the fortnight’s activities really worthwhile for me.