Open your eyes

Open your eyes…

Course reflection

My take away LEGO piece from the final SMDL session.

Following the final SMDL session: ‘LEGO Serious Play’, we’ve been asked to write a final post, not about LEGO (although no-one said we couldn’t illustrate with LEGO…!), but about the course as a whole – the experience, where we are, what we’ve enjoyed (or not enjoyed) etc.

Coming into the course I had a fair idea of a lot of social media applications/outlets due to my role, but didn’t necessarily use or apply all of them. I saw the course as an opportunity to learn more about any of these applications I wasn’t so up on and also to ensure that I knew what others would be learning in order to know what people might be exploring and wanting to link to on the main website. I’m happy to admit I didn’t know everything – and that’s fine, it’s hard to have the time to know about everything so the course was helpful in filling in those gaps.

The only thing I’m not comfortable with is using a lot of social media on a personal level – i don’t necessarily feel I have a lot I want to contribute share with the world and that perhaps comes down to personality type. But it doesn’t mean that this hasn’t been worth it – from a business perspective it’s best to know about and be comfortable with as much social media as possible.

Open your eyes

Open your eyes

Photo credit: Johnathan via Flickr

The course didn’t cover every single social media tool/application in the world and to my surprise it didn’t cover Facebook but did cover a lot more tools I had only ever heard mentioned. This actually worked very well as I felt quite a lot these tools were a lot more applicable and useful in a business sense – which for me is where I want to improve my ability, knowledge and skills.

Some of the less known tools for me included Feedly, TinEye, PicMonkey, PhotoPin.

Getting more comfortable

The course offered the opportunity to get to grips better with existing tools I already use here in the workplace such as twitter, twitter management tools (e.g. Hootsuite), Google +, etc.

One of the best parts of the course was that it was more practical than theory – perhaps practical supported by theory would be a better description. In terms of social media I think hands on learning can’t be beaten, but everyone is different.

Tips, tricks and benefits

It’s been good to learn little tips and tricks such as, twitter language and etiquette, profile raising and referencing creative commons among others.

For those who are content providers here at the School, it will give them a better understanding of what can and can’t be done in terms of social media, it will help them engage better and provide us with the right information we need (such a creative commons referencing where appropriate)


One of the other things that has become apparent (most prominently during the LEGO serious play session) is the amount of people on the course who are buy into a collaborative approach to social media. This is great news for the School and will help us going forward (I know, I know, a lot of people hate this phrase) to present the best possible projection of the business to the outside world.

I’m not saying we need to become a LEGO spiderman army (although that would be pretty cool!), but if we are aligned in our views of presenting a consistent message and image on social media it will show the outside world a much clearer picture through the windows of social media.

Next steps

Next steps

Image credit: leg0fenris via Flickr

So what are the next steps?

I’m not sure I’ll become an acomplished blogger on a personal level (I already use blogging technology daily in my job), but hopefully there’s now enough food for thought to discuss social media approaches with my team and the wider team. Subsequently I hope that this will help feed into the Schools social media strategy for the future months and years.


Monkeying around


photo credit: Wen Rou via Flickr cc

Okay so this is not about monkeying around..well not really. I decided this week to blog about PicMonkey – I figured everyone would be having a go at explaining the whole creative commons movement (not really sure movement is quite the word I was looking for!). Anyway, I actually thought PicMonkey was a great little tool to help people get their images web-ready. I’m fortunate in the role I do, to use PhotoShop, but have to appreciate that not only is it expensive, not everyone has the time to learn it or has access to it. In a way PicMonkey makes editing pics an online doddle. The application’s interface  is pretty straight forward which is important for this kind of tool as going ‘too technical’ will only put the average user off using it. Not only does it allow you to edit your own photos you can also have a go with one of theirs – so if you just want to practice, it’s great.

Editing, editing, editing…

The application allows you to:

  • Crop, resize, rotate
  • Play with colour and colour effects, expose
  • Shape, sharpen
  • Apply numerous effects
  • Fix (blemishes, wrinkles, shine, etc.)
  • Add text
  • Apply overlays, borders, textures

Just to name a few.

One I made earlier

You can go from: flower-image-original



The best things in life are free…or almost…!

Okay so quite a lot of it is, but if you use this you’ll notice that you do have to pay for some of the features, but for basic editing (and by basic I don’t actually mean all that basic) it certainly does a good job.

Photo credits

Monkey photo (top and featured) image credit: Wen Rou via Flickr cc


YouTube – audio/visual encyclopaedia

YouTubeYouTube has gone from strength to strength since it started and now seems to be the go to watch almost anything.

It can be used in so many many ways:

  • How to videos
  • Pure entertainment (cats and dogs are clearly very highly viewed)
  • Education
  • Music
  • News
  • Events
  • Promotions

but of specific interest is the part it plays in learning.

You can learn so much

You can learn about almost anything.

From an excel tutorial:

To hairstyles:

Even how to cook:

Or bake:

Changing a tyre

and how to do home decor:

It really is such a useful resource and changes the way that we (in particular the younger generation) learn things.


Recruiting effectively or playing big brother

RecruitmentThe Social Media Driving Licence podcast: Julie Brown on use of social media in HR was of most interest to me given that my early career background was in recruitment and HR.

It’s clear things have evolved a lot over the past decade and it’s clear in the podcast that Julie has some good points to raise about this.

For us and for them

Julie makes the point that social media can be used at both ends of the recruitment spectrum: Obviously it can be used for advertising but also as a research tool for potential candidates too – it gives candidates a different perspective to what they might read through corporate literature/brochures and even at interview. On the flipside HR teams are able to use social media to do research on candidates’ social presence.

‘Using it properly’

Julie explains during the podcast that while they want more people at the School get involved with social media, it needs to be used in the right way. Positivity seems to be key here – there’s no value to the School of people providing negative comments that could be view by potential applicants – instead giving people a view of the community and culture of the workplace.


University are looking to do more online advertining and Julie mentions that the School want to improve on this too – however she makes a very good point that ‘it needs to be done properly’. It’s all very well having online presence but it’s more important to make sure you are doing things the right way.

She also mentions that the School does not much print advertings – it is less cost effective than advertising online however with online comes easier application processes which often invites candidates that are not neccessarily right for the role – creating a larger pool to go through – but there may still be that person you’re looking for!

Big brother is watching

Julie explains that they do use social media to research potential candidates – they mainly use LinkedIn and the odd Google search, but they don’t tend to search people’s Facebook profiles.

Researching candidates on social media can be fine line to tread – we have to consider where research becomes invasion of privacy. For example when recruiting for candidates HR departments don’t ask for certain information such as age, dependants etc. – this is in order not to be discriminate against anyone – however if in researching a candidate online this information is seen, it negates the whole process of not having asked. Employers may then have to be very careful not to mention something they’ve seen. One way to avoid problems is to have one person designated as the researcher and another who is recruiting – that way the researcher only passes on the relevant information.

I think Julie’s team have a great approach in targeting certain types of social media such as LinkedIn. Perhaps looking at Twitter in addition might not be seen as going a step to far as it is meant for the public domain after all – but do recruiters want to know what other people find funny/amusing/interesting – does that represent how good they are at their job and how well they fit in…I’ll leave that up to the recruiters to decide…


Twitter’s client

HootsuiteRecently we’ve looked at Twitter and subsequently a number of applications/clients that make working with Twitter, feeds and the web more simple.

In terms of working with Twitter Hootsuite, a Twitter client, really stands out as impressive/valuable.

What’s so good about Hootsuite?

  1. Enables a great overarching view | Helps you to see more at once – helps you miss less!
  2. Highly customisable | There are so many options for you to display what are in effect your own little feeds (known as streams), be it predefined streams that they offer such as ‘Mentions’ (posts you’re mentioned in) or streams you create by streaming in a keyword/hashtag.
  3. The options of endless | Well the number of streams you can have is – Once you reach 10 streams you simply add a new tab and start adding. This also helps you to organise similar streams more effectively.
  4. Scheduling | This has to be one of the best things about Hootsuite – especially from a business perspective, it helps will planning and also perfect timing.
  5. Supporting more that just Twitter | So it also supports other services be it Facebook, LinkedIn, RSS feeds, they’re just not quite as well supported as Twitter.
  6. Mobile compatibility | Nothing worse when working with social media and you find you have to use the PC for it to work – Hootsuite works with all of the major mobile platforms.
  7. Analytics | The platform allows you to analyse data and create reports.
  8. Support | Hootsuite offer a range of support services from blogs, forums, tutorials, userguides, FAQs and more.


Visit Hootsuite to see for yourself »

Well this is random…

It contained ‘apple pip’ in the title so thought I’d see what it was. It’s got an old computer game-y feel to it…

Multitasking -live tweeting

Can’t multitask?…Good luck, you’re going to need it!

multitasking-229x205This past week on the Social Media Driving Licence (SMDL) was all about Twitter and having tweeted, retweeted, favourited, RT’d, learnt the jargon, used hashtags it was now time to have a go at live tweeting.

Live tweeting (LT) is about using Twitter to make updates from an event that is currently taking place. It certainly requires a lot of concentration.

LT: A Twitter whirlwind

I think this is probably something that would improve with practice but one thing you definitely seem to need is the ability to do more than one thing at once – in this case: listen; pick out the key information (very much objective); create effective tweets and read/retweet tweets all at the same time! If you’re no good at multitasking, this may be an issue for you (at least to start with!).

Our live tweeting experience focussed around a talk on social media by Nathalie Walker (@NathalieEmma). My first few tweets were pretty awful and I thought ‘I’m just wasting someone’s server space with these’, but as the session progressed it became a little easier to pick out key bits of information. Whether or not they were written in an engaging enough way (something that can be a struggle even with time on your side), I don’t know.


Reflecting on the session, SMDL participants described it as ‘adrenaline rush’, ‘stressful’, ‘difficult’, but on the flipside it was interesting to see the different ways that content had been interpreted and he surprise of how external twitter users from outside of the course were engaging with our content.

+ Enables you to share the experience with others who cannot make an event
+ Helps you keep a record of the running of an event
+ Allows you to not only inform but also to provide commentary/opinion

– You can miss out if you’re too busy tweeting about one thing
– You risk annoying followers (they can use Twitter’s mute function though)
– If more than one person is live tweeting, the takeaway tweets may be overly similar

At the end of the day…

All in all some people will find live tweeting really easy and useful and others may struggle – it’s a good thing to know about as it might just come in useful (even if just for your own recollection).