What your blogsquad can do for you

I am genuinely, properly excited to be part of the blogsquad for the CIPD’s ACE 2016; the gathering of the HR/L&D/OD/whatever else clans which is taking place at Manchester Central on 9 and 10 November. I’ve written before that the word “blogsquad” summons up images of prep school-y types running around in matching brogues (oh, is that just me?) but actually it’s a role that I know we all take very seriously. But hang on a minute – some of you will be asking “what the hell is a blogsquad and what does it entail?”

For me, a blogsquad is an essential part of any event or conference these days. The group has a number of objectives:

  1. To generate online content about the event
  2. To communicate, curate and share that content as widely as possible
  3. To encourage participation in the event’s “backchannel” both from people at the event and people all across the world
  4. To summarise and give their own views on what they are seeing and hearing

So you see, this is social learning – and the 70:20:10 principle – in action!

So what do we actually do? Well, firstly – and significantly – none of us are professional blogsquadders: we are all practitioners (some HR, some L&D, some strategic, some operational….) doing this on a voluntary basis. Armed with all kinds of technological devices (and associated chargers), we will try to get to as many of the sessions as we can and bring you coverage and analysis of what is being said by the speakers, what is being discussed on the floor and a flavour of what is going on inside the venue. We will each inevitably bring our own perspectives and experience to bear on what we hear. So, for example, I have built something of a reputation as a hater of best practice, a lover of social media in HR and an avid wearer of Converse All-Stars. The CIPD has been very forward-thinking in developing the blogsquad concept and in the past has given us free rein to do the role in our own way. So for example, last year I realised I was working with so many fantastic live bloggers that I decided to try something different and used the live video streaming service Periscope to record thoughts from attendees, exhibitors and speakers. You can still see all of the videos (and the rest of my content from 2015) here: https://timscott.net/hrblogging/cipd15/.

We’ll probably post the majority of our content on Twitter, where you’ll be able to find stuff from us and everyone else by searching for the hashtag #cipdACE16. That said, we’ll be using all sorts of means of communication including (but by no means limited to) tweeting, live blogging, sketch noting, Periscoping, uploading videos to YouTube… you name it, we’ll be using it to bring you a flavour of the conference.

This year, I’m fortunate to know most of my colleagues and frankly I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be a cracker. There is the man with the fastest (blogging) fingers in the west, Ian Pettigrew, an absolute master of the craft of live blogging and curation. We have HRDs Gem Dale and Gary Cookson who bring a wealth of blogging experience alongside their heavyweight HR credentials. I have had the pleasure of working on several events with Damiana Casile whose infectious enthusiasm about all things HR always inspires. I haven’t met Natalie Ellis IRL yet but in a relatively short space of time, she has had a big impact with her blogging, tweeting and innovative uses of social media, so I’m looking forward to correcting that. Finally, as new faces to the blogsquad, Priya and Amelia will bring a fresh take on the conference and certainly in Amelia’s case, the view from someone relatively new to the profession.

(Congratulations on completing your NVQ Amelia!)

So there you go. That’s this year’s blogsquad lined up. You know who we are and you know what we’re going to do. Whether you’re at the conference or not, we can be your eyes and ears, bringing you things you would otherwise have missed. Your next steps are to think about how we can help you and how you can help us. And most importantly connect with us on Twitter and let us know!