Giving up #Facebook for 99 days. #99daysoffreedom


I am 3 days into a 99 day break from Facebook.


Good question.

For me and 24 million other Brits Facebook has become a staple of everyday life (that is the number of daily individual logins). How many of us sleep with our smart phones less than 3 feet away? To then check your social media updates near waking?

It’s brilliant and this post from Mashable sums up all the reasons I use Facebook:

1) Facebook is one of the best ways to stay in touch
2) Facebook stalking is an invaluable tool
3) Facebook has become a scrapbook and journal of our lives
4) We don’t want to miss out on event invites
5) Facebook keeps us in the know
6) Facebook helps us remember family and friends’ birthdays
7) Facebook private groups are useful for work, school and networking
8) We love sharing our awesome lives through humblebrags
9) We get to show how hilarious we are to the Facebook world
10) It just seems weird if you don’t have Facebook

So Facebook rocks right?

Em, no. Ethically, something is rotten in the state of Facebook.

Or maybe digital? After all there’s stiff competition out there for ‘most evil‘ empire *cough Google*.

But it was the recent news that Facebook had manipulated the newsfeeds of 689,000 users in which friends’ postings were moved to influence moods, without any sort of informed consent, that finally broke my flexibility in tolerating standards of behaviour that cross my moral comfort zone. 

So when I came across 99 Days of Freedom; an online study on how life without Facebook impacts user happiness, something chimed.

By giving up Facebook (and mean uninstalling from all devices, switching off all notifications, breaking the habit of lunchtime and breaks of checking my news feed) it will save the average user 1683 minutes. That’s well over 28 hours of freedom gained in the 99 days.

The people behind the study contact you after 33, 66 and 99 days, to see how you’re doing.

So I’ve signed up, uninstalled, logged out and now I’m going to enjoy life as instructed. Let’s see what I can do with my free time…


Some thoughts on ‘tone of voice’ & NVC on #SocialMedia #nhssm

For tonight’s #nhssm we’ve asked how about non verbal communication and social media.

Does social media, as posited in this article, through a lack of the non verbal cues that make up 93% (estimates do vary ;)) of our communication context mean that it (social media) creates a ‘disconnect’ – actually isolating us from each other?

(I would argue that this isn’t the case. In terms of ‘social capital’ and Robert Putnam‘s ideas of ‘bridging’ and ‘bonding’ capital, there are growing studies that suggest social networks can enhance an individual’s social capital – an example here.)

I think the more pertinent question (and certainly less verbose)…

Is communicating via Social Media absent of non verbal communication?

Screenshot 2014-07-02 14.23.22

Did you hear my tone of voice?

The trusty Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘non-verbal’ as: Not involving or using words or speech.

and communication as: The imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium.

Based on the definitions alone it is impossible for social media to lack non verbal communication. Social media is not just 140 characters (hello You Tube, Pinterest, Flickr, Vine, Snapchat, Instagram etc). Social media is not a text based medium. Therefore there are a variety of ways for organisations to use video, audio and speech to communicate wholly with your patients, staff and the public. I’m not going to list examples – you can have a look here for some great examples.

Face to face interactions will never be replaced by virtual ones. They sit beside each other.

I don’t like ‘rules’ but here are some ideas about ‘tone of voice’ on social media:

1) And the most obvious – leave the lingo at the door – I have read tweets that I still don’t understand…

“Will demonstrate the practicability and cost effectiveness of integrating and provisioning service offerings beyond institutional boundaries”.

* and yes the jargon itself is verbal communication but the tone it sets is definitely non-verbal!*

 2) Empower your staff to develop personal voices.

If you are lucky to have more than one member of staff monitoring your social media accounts is it easy to see who’s tweeting/posting/commenting etc? Some accounts will add the staff initials at the end of tweets. I like this – it reminds me there are individuals involved.

With organisations who encourage their employees to break out from the corset of the corporate speak I’ve notice that, even if it is only 140 characters, individual personalities emerge and enhances my understanding of the culture of an organisation.

3) How you feel about emoticons? 

Jury’s out.

4)  No one controls the conversation on social media. Don’t broadcast and try to dictate the conversation – be open to conversation, debate and challenge. And listen when people have an opinion.

5) Simply being there is not enough. Having a social media account isn’t the same as interacting with people. Be timely, relevant and regularly engage (would also add resource your social media efforts too!).

Hope you can join us tonight.


SOCIAL VOICE: Corporate Criticism Shouldn’t Be Taken Personally

All new staff (and maybe some old ones too) should read this. Really important to keep in mind when communicating publicly for an organisation.

Dan Slee

136999986_e410a68efb_oThere’s a thing about people who put their heart and soul into making a social media account work.

They go the extra mile, they’re pushing at the margins and they take a real sense of pride about what they are doing.

But there’s also something that connects them whether profile they are running whether that’s a town centre Facebook, a corporatel Twitter or an NHS Trust YouTube channel.

Because they put heart and soul into what they do their skin is that bin thinner when they face criticism of the organisation or service they front-up online.

Is it aimed at me? It feels like it… 

“I used to go onto our social channel in the evening and answer questions,” one said to me recently. “I don’t bother now. When I’ve spent all day being told that I’m rubbish and the service we provide is dreadful I’m worn down. I just don’t want…

View original post 135 more words

#Social Update – links and that I found interesting #nhssm


Comm Science

I very much please myself when it comes to this blog and rarely achieve regularity of posting so I want to give a little – so here is a summary of interesting things I have found recently…

@Emilyturner at Deeson Creative is who I go to when any social network is giving me particular gyp – Facebook seems to be the bane of most digital types lives at the moment – here is Emily’s latest  update.

@DaveBriggs podcasts – episode 1 with @DanSlee – chewing the cud of social media and digital within a public sector context.

Tonight’s #nhssm is looking at non verbal communication online and this post popped up on the old Twitter feed via @JaCatell (I think video can be that great bridging medium between online/offline worlds).

How we make films at GDS (Government Digital Service) – love the practical aspect of the GDS team’s posts.

Connected to this (at least in my mind) is VOIP –  and does it count as face 2 face communication?

Dilbert Skype


And finally…

Very excited to be attending #CommsCamp14 next Monday. I imagine that I even I may be inspired to blog – or at least audioboo 😉

Digital packs for policy teams: update

Clear message

Just before Christmas, I crept around the office one afternoon, handing out some gift packs to five colleagues.

Each pack contained a tablet, a copy of Euan Semple’s book, a Starbucks voucher, and a letter from me explaining what this is all about. I wanted to see if any or all of these items combined might provide the recipients with enough inspiration to bring digital into their way of working.

The good people at Microsoft kindly extended the loan of the tablets, so the project has another week or so to run.

What has happened, so far?

1. A little bit of digital engagement – hurrah!

Two of the recipients have ramped up their activity online, and importantly, started talking directly to their audience. Yes, it’s on Twitter (and I originally said I didn’t just want five new Twitter profiles from this), but the important thing is that they…

View original post 454 more words

The Top 50 Digital #PowerPlayers14 in #ukhousing

Paul Taylor


You want to get to the list don’t you? 

Hold on. It’s coming.  

Before you look at the Top 50 influencers please read this guest post from Shirley Ayres who kindly agreed to collaborate with me on #powerplayers14.

For me…it sums up perfectly what it’s all about….

When the first Power Players 50 list was published I was surprised and complimented to be included.The list was intended as light hearted fun but the interest generated in who was included and why sparked a very lively debate.

I was delighted to be invited by Paul to collaborate on the #powerplayers14 list and we agreed that we needed to widen the criteria. We accept that Klout is an imperfect algorithm so added in scores from PeerIndex. We also invited public nominations. You can read the criteria we used here.

We wanted to create a different kind of list celebrating the diversity of…

View original post 516 more words

OPERA: a simple way to manage change

 Change is the only constant in life.



I’ve been teaching this morning about the cycle of change and organisational and individual responses to change. One of the quick and dirty techniques for managing change I use is OPERA. I thought I would blog about a tool that anyone can use. Here’s what it stands for:

OBJECTIVE – What are you trying to change. What is your aim? What does ‘success’ look like?

For example: “Our objective is to make our social media channels more responsive in real time’.

PLAN – how are you going to do it? Can you do it? What time/resources do you need? Who’s sign off do you need (supporters)? Any legalities to think about?

For example: Capacity of staff increased so social media accounts can be monitored more frequently. Set parameters – Twitter/Facebook/ Google +/ Instagram,  to be monitored between 9am – 5pm Monday – Friday. Training for staff? Strategy in place? Policies and procedures? Plan to live tweet events and meetings. How are we going to measure levels of engagement? How are we going to measure what difference this change will make? Really important to think about methods of measurement before you start!

EXECUTE – Just do it! Eventually you have to stop planning and get on with it. Remember to record the learning on the way.

REVIEW – So how did it go? Have you achieved any targets you set? What went well? What didn’t go so well?

AMEND – What are you going to change for next time?

For example: Had more engagement when we included images – will look for ways to incorporate more images. People were interested in hearing about personal stories and journeys – look for ways to include more, maybe ask staff/patients to regularly blog etc.


There you have it. Very simple and very effective – which is usually how it works!

Have a great weekend.