06 Social media is…

Roger McGough has always been a bit of a hero of mine. As a kid I loved his cheeky wordplay, the sense of fun that jumps off each page and the easy rhyming style. Actually, take “as a kid” out of that sentence – I still love those things now I’m reading his work to my own kids. So I hope he doesn’t mind what I’m about to do with inspiration from one of his works…

I’ve blogged before on the importance of social media both to me personally and to my career in recent times. I firmly believe that using social media has made me better at what I do. Partly as a result of this experience and partly because of some ‘being in the right place at the right time’, I’ve been invited to be part of a panel discussion at the forthcoming CIPD Social Media in HR Conference on 4 December in London. I’m very excited about this.

I’m there to talk about my personal experience as a fairly typical HR practitioner discovering social media and how it has helped me to develop. Others will be sharing their experiences of using social media in their professional lives and it promises to be an excellent day with lots of learning for everyone involved. My personal hope is that people who are curious about social media will hear the fantastic stories – both personal and professional – and be inspired to join the conversation. I’m hoping my presence on the panel will illustrate that you certainly don’t have to be a technology geek or an influential HR thought-leader to get something valuable out of social media!

As preparation for the event, I wanted to be clear in my own mind what social media means to me. I started compiling a mental list which very quickly reminded me of one of Roger Mc Gough’s poems, Water. The poem is written around the outside of a fountain/water feature in Williamson Square in Liverpool – the kind that spurts water into the air for kids to run through in the summer and get completely soaked…


I absolutely love the poem – it’s an inspired description of the characteristics of water in McGough’s inimitable style. Sadly I can’t find a shareable version of it on the internet so you’ll just have to come to our wonderful city and read it for yourself… You’ll find it here. But in the meantime, here’s my answer to “what is social media to me?”, with heavy stylistic inspiration from Mr McGough:

social media

social media is connecting, is discussing, is debate;

social media is sharing, is learning, is reflecting, is challenging, is changing;

social media is encouraging, is welcoming, is empowering, is inspiring;

social media is information, is analysis, is news and views, is opinion and fact;

social media is like minds, is unlike minds, is disruptive, is affirming;

social media is trending, is hashtags, handles and profiles, is links, is photos, videos and blogs;

social media is broadening, is widening, is deepening.


Two links were shared with me while I was writing this post which seemed particularly apt.

Firstly, courtesy of Ben Phillips (@trecknowledgy), a short parody video on the “social media revolution”:


Secondly, a great post I saw through Tash Stallard (@stirthesource) on why a shepherd has found using Twitter revolutionary for him. Well worth a read…


Here’s hoping to see you at #CIPDsocial13 – please come and say hello if you are there. Or tweet me here. Or both!

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