Corporate communications + Public Relations Adelaide


April 2011

Why do you use social media? Dr Bill Griggs

This is the first in a series of blogs where I’ll ask some Twitter friends to share their social media experiences. I’ll be posting one a week – make sure you don’t miss them!

This week – Dr Bill Griggs. Doctor: trauma, medical retrieval, disaster response, Royal Australian Air Force. amateur photographer, genealogist and proud South Australian.

Dr Bill Griggs
Dr Bill Griggs

1.       What is your favourite social media platform – and why?

Twitter – because it is a rapid way of finding real time information that I want or need.  The real time nature of information can be particularly relevant when considering possible disaster or emergency response. A secondary benefit is that it can also be entertaining.  The fact that it is tailorable to my interests/needs also increases its value to me.

I also use a number of other SM platforms with different goals – Facebook tends to be personal for family and friends – LinkedIn for business contacts – Foursquare and a couple of others for fun and to learn about them and how they work, often when I am on holidays.   However, they all help me to understand the wider world of SM which is relevant to my work and in particular to my role on a number of organisations’ boards.

2.       What made you begin using social media?

I have used personal computers since the late 1970s and have always had an interest in different computer based communication technology ranging from bulletin boards through Internet Relay Chat and onwards.  While I experienced email as the original “killer app”, it is clear that now there are people who use SM instead of email to communicate – rather than as well.

For me using social media is a natural progression of this interest.  In particular a few years ago while studying marketing while undertaking an MBA, I became aware of the strength and importance of social media.  As I am involved with a number of organisations I feel it is important to be aware of, and to champion the importance of, various social media platforms.  This is even more relevant if some others in the organisations are less aware.  These platforms have huge potential to help and hurt brand, both corporate and personal.

3.       What’s the question you’re asked most about Twitter?

“Isn’t it just people spouting inanities?” or similar. Probably ties with “What is it?”

I suspect some are thinking “Isn’t that for young (read immature) people and you’re not young …”

4.       Do you have a “plan” for your personal use of social media? (May not be written; but do you think about how you represent yourself online and stick to a brand, persona, or personal standards?) Please explain.

Yes.  I use my real name in Twitter and in most other social media.  I try to read much more than I post.  I am aware that anything I post is in the public domain and attributable to me.  I try to think carefully about my posts.  I know my posts affect how people perceive me.  I am also aware that in face-to-face communication word content is said to be around 7% of the message with tone and body language providing most of the rest.  In most SM word content alone is susceptible to misinterpretation, so I try to careful to read and re-read prior to posting to minimise this risk. The use of emoticons is a somewhat inefficient way to try to address this.  Even so I find that I misinterpret others and others misinterpret me from time to time.

I use DM for more personal information / discussion or for things which I think are less likely to be of interest to more than one person.  As mentioned above I use different SM platforms for different reasons/different parts of my life.

From time to time I do post some information relating to my work and in particular to road and other trauma events. My aim is to encourage safe behaviours.  In doing this I am especially careful not to break confidences, medical or otherwise, and that posted information does not allow someone reading it to gain information about identifiable individuals that is not otherwise available in the public domain.

5.       What do you gain from using social media?

Information of interest and relevance to me.

A better knowledge of how social media “works” and thus its increasing potential use as a tool.

Information/opinions differing from my own which increase my own opportunities for reflection.

An additional platform to use to share safety messages, a personal passion.

Entertainment and amusement.

A chance to “meet” new people.

Overall it contributes to my ongoing education at a number of levels, which can’t be a bad thing.


The First Rule of Twitter Club

The first rule of Twitter Club:  Always, ALWAYS, talk about Twitter Club.

The second rule of Twitter Club:  Don’t use for your Twitter Clubbing

Edward Norton in Flight Club. See the movie!
Edward Norton in Flight Club. See the movie!

The third rule of Twitter Club:  Have a profile picture. You egghead.

The fourth rule of Twitter Club:  Have a bio. Tell us who you are. And where you are. How else can we begin to trust you?

The fifth rule of Twitter Club:  Talk. To us. Not just yourself. Or the ether.

The sixth rule of Twitter Club:  Make your own rules. Twitter is an evolutionary platform.

What “rules of Twitter Club” would you like to add?

Police have seized … Facebook

One of the roaring success stories of social media currently has to be the Australian police presence on Facebook.

Recently we’ve seen the South Australian Police join Facebook, following the lead of police departments in Queensland and New South Wales. While the SA Police seem to be new to proactive social media, they’ve done the job extraordinarily well and are scoring major goals. Consider what its Facebook Page is achieving:

  • Asking the community for help – and getting that help. It’s Crimestoppers meets crowdsourcing. SA Police now has a helpful public at its disposal.
  • Improving its brand by demonstrating its level of activity. I’ve been amazed by the number of arrests that are posted on the page. Did you imagine your police force sat around behind speed cameras or ate donuts all day? Reading the Facebook Page, now I feel like the taxpayer has an active, effective and hardworking police force.
  • Providing a powerful outlet for police messages. Facebook is there whenever the SA Police needs it: it doesn’t need to rely on traditional media to broadcast. And its community can refer to posts later if they’ve forgotten details. They can pass posts onto friends, and access them on their phones. Much better than a TV service announcement that is here and gone in seconds (”how many centimetres tall did they say the suspect was?”)

SA Police hasn’t excluded other avenues of communication in favour of Facebook – its SA Police News website is still ticking along  for example. (In fact, it also uses Twitter).

SA Police
SA Police

What a great example to government, community service and community groups in general, of how powerful and supportive social media can be.

As an aside: at the recent Frocomm New Media Summit, a representative of the NSW Police spoke about the Facebook experience there. He said there was some trepidation and expectations of abuse (you can imagine!) But they were surprised. He described that department’s experience  on Facebook as “overwhelmingly positive”.

Do you follow any police departments on social media?

Footnote: don’t miss Laurel Papworth’s blog on the same topic!

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