Last Friday I spent a day at Nottingham University with a small group of healthcare professionals from BAME Connect – a black, Asian and minority ethnic group. Myself and Sarah Amani (@s_amani) were invited by Stacy Johnson (@misssdjohnson) to hold a workshop around the use of social media and how it can be used to connect, learn and support.
As a little bit of an ice breaker Sarah and I got the group to kick off the day by talking to each other and then introducing each other – you know the type of thing, great to get people chatting at the start of a day. The first person to introduce the person sat next to him politely told us her name, and her job role and then said “and she doesn’t do all of this” (at which point he waved his hand in the general direction of computers and ipads) “as she thinks that often theres no purpose!” …….
(Image courtesy of graur codrin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Well time seemed to slow down and I think I must have visibly paled! The words “tough crowd” went through my mind …. But then both Sarah and I seemed to instinctively take the same approach …. We agreed with her !!! She was right ….. social media is pointless if it has no purpose. There has to be a reason for organisations to engage and for people to engage otherwise, there has to be some sort of direction, otherwise its just time wasting. Of course those reasons can be wide and diverse, from support to spreading a message and from learning to sharing cat pictures (lets hope less of the latter!) but purpose has to be defined and clear in our minds.
“Purpose” then set the tone to the whole day and we kept returning to it again and again and the day turned out to be one of the most wonderful workshops I have ever attended. The group were one of the most engaging, sharing and supportive groups I have ever met ….. they already naturally had social media skills and it seemed that purpose was all they needed. Towards the end of the day they all signed up to twitter – and you will find their tweets if you search #BAMEconnect. They are definitely a group to watch – inspiring, friendly and purposeful.