Why do you use social media? Stephen Yarwood

This is the second in a series of blogs, where I’m asking some Twitter friends to share their social media experiences. This week, a very interesting insight into the challenges of being a Lord Mayor who tweets! Please read on for more from Stephen Yarwood.

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

Blogging – I enjoy creative writing.  I get to tell a story and explain myself far more effectively.  Twitter and Facebook are very difficult for me to communicate complex issues (cities are full of intricate topics) and people often ask me questions with complex answers via twitter and that is frustrating.

2.      What made you begin using social media?

Always been a tech head – love my digital dimension!  Also whilst being an outgoing person I like down time/privacy so it’s a good way of connecting to friends (previously) and city stakeholders (moreso these days) without always having to be “out there” all the time.  Especially with a family that I want to invest time in and a city to run!

I’m also an information junkie and get a great deal of quality information about cities, events, ideas and opportunities this way.  I think of social media as an up to date stream of consciousness that I can plug into to remain relevant in a constantly changing world with a new type of operating system.

Stephen Yarwood
Adelaide Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood

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

4.      Do you have a “plan” for your personal use of social media?

Yes, but it is always evolving as the technology changes and as my personal circumstances change.  Being a Lord Mayor using social media is fun and rewarding but also a real challenge.  I often feel obligated to read links, respond to people and chase up minor information and this is a real issue when I am very time poor and have a massive number of civic and administrative obligations.  I often feel like a customer service officer when I should be focusing on City Strategy, key stakeholder relationships, a $200 million budget and $1 million worth of corporation assetts.  Everyone wants to be heard and responded to but would be worried if that is what I did all day when my job is to run the city!

My plan is to learn about social media, adapt to it and to connect to as many people as possible in a meaningful way. I want to use it to promote appropriate things – city events, ideas and values, what council is doing and what it is really like to be the Lord Mayor of Adelaide.

I also want to have fun, to remain “real” and assure people that I am still a typical guy that likes to enjoy life and is not always serious or, even worse, full of himself!

5.      What do you gain from using social media?

I can listen, learn, get feedback and connect to quality innovators and communicators that care about Adelaide and its future.  I have made some great friends (that I hardly see these days) and can drive change but getting grass roots support to help make Adelaide a world class city.

Thank you Stephen. Next post – Mikyla Gilbert, publishing editor of Adelaide Hills Magazine.

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