The common links

Digital, dynamic and passionate

*This does not mean compulsory Facebook/Twitter accounts for everyone.

This means

  • Digital – Making use of new and recent communications technologies to deal with the challenges we face, while maintaining a human safety net for those that cannot or choose not to use the internet/social media.
  • Dynamic – movement with a continuous direction, and implies trying new things out – even ones that make us feel a little uncomfortable at first
  • Passionate – implies doing things with energy and effort

Cambridge as a city has the potential to make far better use of digital and social media in support of making the city great. But…

Puffles volunteering as a social media trainer with @Net2Camb

Puffles volunteering as a social media trainer with @Net2Camb

Digital alone won’t make Cambridge great

You can’t just set up a social media page and say ‘Done it!’ All you’ll get is a social media page that no one uses or goes to. Hence the ‘dynamic’ bit. Digital for a purpose, where you have some idea of where it’s going to take you. It’s not a case of having a social media page for the sake of it. Dynamic also means continuous. The ‘one off’ actions need to be connected to something that happened before and something that is going to happen afterwards. For example, before setting up a social media page, have you done some planning? After setting up your social media page, what is your next action?

This also means we need to think about what digital learning in the community looks like, because in my experience there are too many gaps. (See this blogpost for more on this).

Learning as a ‘default’ setting

It almost goes without saying given Cambridge’s global brand. In this context, I am thinking far beyond qualifications and certificates. I’m thinking about a culture change – one that is perhaps very different from the institutionalised learning of the education system. By this I mean:

  • We must allow ourselves to make mistakes and not beat ourselves up about them
  • We must allow ourselves to fail and get things wrong – and not be condemned when that happens
  • We must allow others the time and space to try things out in the knowledge that they may not work
  • We must allow ourselves to say sorry – and accept honest apologies.

What matters with the above three is that we learn from what happens and work out what is going to be different as a result. Because if we don’t make changes after acknowledging things went wrong, we risk making the same mistakes again.

Energy and enthusiasm

Of which at times I have far too much – combined with a very short attention span. At other times, my brain is completely zapped – the trials of my mental health issues.

Energy and enthusiasm will only get you so far, and if misdirected will either annoy the very people you want to work with, lead to ‘burnout’ or frustration and disillusion. I’ve experienced all of these on several occasions, and none are particularly pleasant. Hence we need to ask ourselves what the most effective way is of channelling the positives into something that has a real impact. Year 9 students at Parkside Coleridge managed this in March 2014, succeeding by lunchtime where I had failed in over 2 years of campaigning. It can be done.


One Response to The common links

  1. I had a look at South Cambs, starting with the Greens, and their last three website entries were 13th March 2014, 12th December 2013 and 11th May 2013. There’s a link to Eastern Region but no feed of the news, not even the launching of their European elections campaign. Not a good start.

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