Saturday, January 28, 2012

Another change

I have been so busy over the last few months I have badly neglected this blog. And to be honest, I've spread myself too thin across the board. So I have just handed in my notice at Griffith University and will no longer be teaching undergraduate midwifery students in Brisbane.

This is a proactive measure I have taken so I can focus 100% on my job in the Educational Development Centre at Otago Polytechnic, my EdD research and developing my consultancy as e-learning/social media advisor.

I shall miss my colleagues at Griffith and hope we'll continue our connection in one way or another.  But I have to say that I am looking forward to being able to spend more time on blogging, researching and writing. And taking up other opportunities that pass my way, that I had to say 'no' to last year, like spending a month in Nepal helping with curriculum development.

The next big project that is looming fast is the 4th Annual Virtual International Day of the Midwife...calls for EOI will be coming out soon. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

How to use social media for virtual campaigning yet avoiding the spam trap

There is currently a campaign in the UK to elect a new president for the Royal College of Midwives. I have been advising Professor Lesley Page how best to use social media to get her message across. Midwives in the UK are notoriously reluctant to vote in RCM elections, so at the very least Lesley wishes to raise awareness about the elections, with the ultimate aim that they vote for her.

One of the things that has become obvious is there is a fine line between maximising opportunities for getting your message out to people and spamming. For example, one of the other candidates wrote a "vote for me" post in a Facebook group that I am a member of which focuses on the ethical advertising and marketing of formula baby food. Personally, I thought this was annoying spam because the post had nothing to do with the topic of the group or relevance to certain members of the group. So how do you get around this problem?

One answer I think is to integrate your message with the focus of the group, network or page so that there is a win-win situation....that you get your message across but you also contribute constructively to the group or conversation. In the case I was talking about, the candidate could have told the group how she feels about ethical marketing of formula feed and what she would do about it if she becomes president. Or she could actively request feedback from the group about the issue to inform her own position.

What do you think? Do you mind if people use your Facebook page (Twitter tag, email discussion group...) to advertise their election/information campaign? Do you have ideas about what is acceptable or not? What sort of campaigns do you share with others on Facebook and Twitter and what would you ignore? What guidelines would you suggest for virtual campaigning using social media?

Image: 'polling station'

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ghost chips

I have had a sad Christmas so haven't been doing any blogging or anything else much for that matter. My son's best friend (on the left) was killed in a car crash following a Christmas party. I am very sad for his family and also my son, because they have lost a huge part of their lives.

The loss of yet another young man, in the prime of his life breaks my heart and I wonder what on earth we can do to stop these lads taking such chances with cars and alcohol.

One of the things that really strikes me is that we have to change attitudes about alcohol and drink-driving. There has recently been a great advertising campaign against drink-driving in New Zealand which apparently has been very successful...although I have no idea how that "success" is measured. 

But at the same time, you have adverts about alcohol with beautiful girls in which drinking looks so cool, so does one counteract the other?

I would like to see an end to the advertising of alcohol, especially on TV and a decrease in the alcohol levels that are acceptable for driving in New Zealand. And as "grown ups" we have to model safe drinking practices to young people...before it is too late.