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Case Study Jam – A few golden rules for using social media
Friday, February 19th, 2010

I recently took part in Ottawa’s second “Case Study Jam,” (twitter.com/CaseStudyJam) – an open learning and dialogue event for people who work in or care about social media, whether in government, businesses or elsewhere.Social Media Case Study Jam

We heard three case studies – a win, a fail and a work in progress. Although each situation was unique, a few common themes jumped out at me. These may not be groundbreaking; just solid advice.

When you’ve proven to yourself that a way of using a tool works, don’t suddenly throw it out the window: One presenter explained his failed attempt to create a new Twitter account, the “Daily Blog” on blogging. Straying from his own proven ways of using Twitter, and juggling a busy workload, he set a rule for his new account – one Tweet a day before 12:00 noon – no more, no less. By sticking to this rule, though, the Twitter account lacked the critical “community-building” piece of social media in which tweeters regularly engage and discuss with their followers.

Do your research on available tools before deciding on one to use: Another presenter explained her adventures creating a “Social Media Book Club”. Having seen a particular meeting management website used a number of times, she signed up, and paid for a small monthly hosting fee. Unfortunately, that initial monthly fee was introductory, doubling after three months, and she learned could easily manage the event using her own website. After amicable discussions with the meeting management website admins, her account was closed, but not before the website sent a message to all 60 members, explaining the event had been permanently closed. With no way to get in touch with the members (a membership export resulted only in a list of names – no emails), she had difficulty in re-establishing contact with people, and assuring them the Club was indeed still up and running.

Small actions can have big results: The final presenter spoke to recent fires at two housing complexes for victims of family violence, and the role that social media played to bring the local community together to help the residents. After writing a blog on the fires and urging action, word spread through the community via social media, with the blogger offering to pick up donations on one given afternoon. Local media picked up on the story, further spreading the call for donations. In the end, a car load of goods and hundreds of dollars in cash and gift certificates were collected. And it all started with a simple blog!

– Stephan Telka –

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  1. Ellis Westwood says:

    Yes, it was really interesting to be there and hear and learn from people’s diverse experiences with using social media to connect people.

    The case of social media engaging the community to help people in need was brilliant. I saw the same thing after the Haiti earthquake – people and charitable organizations spreading the word and encouraging people to donate what they could, even if it was just a small amount. When hundreds or thousands of people contribute, small parts make up a large whole.

  2. Vincent Leo says:

    These rules are simple but useful. Actually, we can say social media has changed the Internet-everything is different now.

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