Noise


I am often so very naive.  I know I am supposed to be an adult, who even has some semblance of a brain, but I am a marketer’s dream.

notificationsI have never considered social media noise before; never thought about how all the notifications were competing for my attention and how often I had got in to checking my phone.  It’s worse if I’m not focussed, so I can go all day at work and never look but one hint of a moment of boredom or procrastination and I’m there.  Cats and kittens always work…..

It was a presentation by Hany Rizk @Rizkhany last week that brought this in to sharp focus by showing this video.  I recommend that you watch it through to the end:

Also look at the website Time Well Spent

It got me thinking about how I manage my personal time and how I need to find some quieter spaces.  Hany managed to persuade me that I need to use settings better to manage my notifications and even switch off my phone (gulp).  I know, most of you are thinking; ‘where has she been????’

noiseI work in an environment where digital tools are seen as part of the future in the way we support health and well-being and I started to wonder how health related digital tools could compete with the existing noise.  How can we build tools that use notifications etc in a positive way, a way that enhances health related behaviours?  How can we compete with the noise of giants like Facebook and Instagram?  We need to think like Marketers!

If we are to build new digital tools that are successful and fit in with people’s lives we need to consider the noise that we create and how its positioned alongside the existing cacophony of social media.

I wonder who is thinking about that as they design new health tools.  I hope some clever people are!

52287225 - concept for mobile apps, flat design vector illustration.

Sharing no more


Imagine this….

Woman aloneYou have had a really shit few years. The details don’t matter but suffice to say you feel you are moving on, you have met someone who you want to spend more time with and all of the things you have been through are being pushed back away somewhere quiet in your mind. You know you will need to talk about it at some point, after all its nothing to be ashamed of, but you are not ready. Your new partner doesn’t know about your loss and you are both enjoying the next phase of your life. You have decided to move in together and you have been clearing stuff out, sending old clothes and junk to the charity shop. Most of it you will never use again so you feel good pushing things into black bin liners and giving them away.

A few weeks later you are sat in bed on a Saturday morning having a lazy coffee when one of your friends messages you on Facebook. The next thing you know you notice you have a few messages which is unusual – you have an account on Facebook but you are not a big user as you are quite a private person really, but it just seems the thing to do right now. Your friend says have you seen the post of you on Facebook?

Loneliness empty benchYou open your Facebook timeline and staring back at you is a picture of yourself and David, before he died, when he was looking drawn and ill. The photo is a precious one but is not for sharing, yet here it was. You read the post and you realise that the precious memory stick that you kept all those memories on must have been left in one of the handbags you took to the charity shop and one of the assistants at the shop was trying to find the owner. You knew they were trying to be kind, to reunite you with your photos, but its unbearable.

You didn’t expect the next thing to happen either. Before you could blink an eye the post was being shared, posted and shared, posted and shared. The list of messages were people who recognised you and who wanted to bring the post to your attention.

You wanted it to stop. Your new partner had no idea about David and you weren’t ready to share the story.

The trouble is you just can’t stop it. The messages keep coming and no matter how often you ask someone to delete the post it carries on being shared. It is breaking your heart.

This isn’t a true story but the essence of it is true. I shared something on Facebook recently – I thought I was being kind and helpful and I had no idea what distress I would cause. The person who messaged me I don’t know them well but I could sense their hurt and distress. I removed my post but of course it was too late and I was just a link in a chain of many postings.

facebook likesThe lesson I learnt was that kind sharing acts can cause harm. I had no idea those photographs I shared would hurt but they did. We often talk about the negative aspects of sharing and I often see posts from teachers who are deliberately showing kids how far images can spread but I have shared things when I thought it was the ‘right’ thing to do. I won’t do this anymore. I have never really shared missing person pictures either and here is a great blog on why:

You never really know the back story and no matter how well intentioned you might be it can go wrong – so I will be sharing no more.

Anne

 

Social media – connecting with purpose


I’m pretty much a Twitter addict; of late, however, it’s been feeling a bit less comfy, as if the life has gone out of it somehow.

But something interesting happened that has heartened me about the role of social media to do good. I’ve had the joy of watching Facebook possibly be the best that it can be.

Two things have made me think this:

Hebden Bridge floods

Photo by Steven Lilley – Flickr. Thanks!

 

On Boxing Day 2015 the Calder Valley, in the north of England, only a few miles upstream from the town where I live, experienced devastating floods for the second time in less than three years. Because my own town had some flooding, and I’m on some hyper local Facebook sites, I found myself on the Calder Valley Flood group. It made me cry; watching all the wonderful people of the beautiful area asking for help. But what I also witnessed was something truly remarkable: a powerful community in action. The whole community and beyond responded in ways I would never have predicted. People came offering whatever they could to help; labour, cleaning materials, food, hot drinks. Pretty soon after local tradespeople starting giving too. It didn’t seem to matter whether they too had had their homes or businesses devastated, everyone seemed to have something to give. The gift economy at its best.

If you want to see that community in action seek out the public site. It is still in place weeks after the events of Boxing Day and they continue to raise money and take positive steps to get those towns back on their feet.

The way the community of Calder Valley supported each other seemed to me to have the infrastructure of a strong social media network helping it to communicate and spread, although of course it was the community itself that did this. There were a very small team of community voluntary administrators on the Facebook site – I think they did an incredible job.

Flood signIt was lively, helpful and the presence of that small group of people felt like it was there 24/7.  Some corporate sites would do well to look at the standards they achieved.  It was never belittling or bemoaning; it was positive constructive and consistent. I applaud the skill and dedication of the small and beautifully formed team of dedicated people behind that Facebook site. They even coordinated wish lists on Amazon so people who lived some distances away could also help in a concrete, practical way. I was very impressed and in awe – that takes skill, time and just a dogged determination. When I talk to professionals about using social media they could do worse than to have a look at those sites. Of course there is some negative stuff but the site was run with such skill and community engagement that the positive drowned out the negative.

midlandThe second thing I watched was how Facebook connected a group of people from the past. Many years ago I worked for what was then the Midland Bank. A friend who I have known since school also worked there and he invited me to join a group called ‘Midland Bank Oldies’.   It was brilliant!  The site exploded into life – within a few days the membership of the group (a closed site) had expanded to more than 7000. Everyone was chatting away, reminiscing and reconnecting. It’s the liveliest and most positive site connection I have ever seen.

Then, one day it disappeared. I don’t know why but the person who had set the site up dismantled it. I suspect it might have been a bit overwhelming but rather than just opening it up and letting the community take its course, in the height of it all, it just wasn’t there.

These two experiences have made me reflect a lot about social media for purpose. Without a doubt people were key too. It doesn’t actually matter which platform you use but your purpose and whether you are prepared for what might happen do matter. You can’t predict how social media communities will go.

In a paper about networks in healthcare by the Health Foundation they recognise five areas that determine the success of a network and I think these two examples show how important these are:

  • common purpose
  • cooperative structure
  • critical mass
  • collective intelligence
  • community building

What they don’t identify is the hard work networks are to keep warm and alive and the personal commitment people need to give. For me my learning was; its about purpose but it’s also about the people.

If you would like to make a contribution to the Calderdale Floods appeal you can do so here – if you don’t know the Calder Valley it’s a very beautiful valley in West Yorkshire that also happens to be the location for the BBC  ‘Happy Valley’ mini series starring Sarah Lancashire – very much worth a watch :0)

Hebden bridge

 

Personal Review of 2015


2015 has been a strange year; at home my other half stopped working, probably for the last time (but never say never is our mantra), meaning that I am the only person at home working! We lost my beloved Henry, our old Ginger boy cat that we had nursed for 3 years through chronic renal failure. I moved back from my secondment at NHS England to the Health and Social Care Information Centre. Of course these are just some of the things that have happened!Anne Rob and SWC black and white

It’s been a strange year of transition and loss but in the tradition of looking back and forwards here are some jewelled highlights:

 

PDDigital unconference and awards

This was definitely a highlight of the year for me. Working with a great group of people, led by the inspirational and stellar Victoria Betton, we put on what felt like a very different type of conference. We were determined to do a different type of event, more open and inclusive, less talking from a mainstage and accessible for attendees from a cost perpective. Our collaborators, all worthy of mention (and some I am still slightly star stuck by) were Mark Brown (@markoneinfour), Michael Seres (@mjseres) Catherine Howe (@curiousc). I think we set out what we wanted to achieve, a new way of including people, not the big, glossy event but one that people enjoyed and felt able to participate in vs being talked at.

The output of the day is here and worth a review:

Fdigitalawards VB, RL, AClushed with the success of the conference we went on to host the unawards a few months later. Stressful and challenging we managed to deliver the events with no cost to anyone at the event but where there was much networking and meeting of minds, connections and chat. The innovations we unearthed are all pretty incredible and the award winner’s worthy.

You can see a summary of what happened here:

Menopause

Back in the spring I blogged about having Diabetes and being menopausal.  It set off a chain of events that led to brilliant connections with a fantastic group of women.  This led to change day connections and some of these publications on Evidently Cochrane. These women are like a force of nature and I love them.  I know that we will all meet properly one day 🙂 Thanks all of you: @drhannahshort @northnatasha @junegirvin @gussiegrips and especially @sarahchpaman30 who tirelessly pulled the blog together.  Its a shame we never made Woman’s Hour but there you go!

The Academy of Fabulous NHS Stuff

[Click the link and look it up if you don’t know it!!]

acad fab awardsOn a similar vein (I would like to think they adopted some of the things they saw at PDDAwards) attending the Academy of Fab NHS Stuff awards was pretty amazing and a highlight of the end of the year. I have never been to an event like this. It was really fabulous but was truly celebratory of many great NHS ideas and solutions. The awards were given based on public voting. I found myself sat on the same table as the fabulous 5 Boroughs Partnership street triage team who won the 5127 Award. If you haven’t read about the awards you should, they are quirky and fun. The 5127 award for example is to recognise:

Absolutely committed. Fiercely determined. Brim-full of self-belief. Refusing to compromise. Dedicated to perfection. The winner of the 5127 award will have demonstrated all of these attributes. 5127 refers to the number of prototypes that Sir James Dyson developed before finally marketing his first Dyson ‘Cyclone’ vacuum cleaner.’

A worthy winning team who were given a toy Dyson Vacuum cleaner as the award. It all made me smile a lot and again made me think about how we ‘do’ awards.  They are in the picture with me above.

Thank you Roy Lilley (@roylilley), Terri Porritt (@gbtpo) and John for not only showing us the way but also inviting me to be there to witness it.

On being a Fellow of the Queens Nursing Institute

qni awards

Professor Viv Bennett (CBE) and me at the awards

In October I received an email from the inspirational (do you see a pattern here – a few inspirational women have crossed my path this year) – Crystal Oldman, CEO at the QNI I was invited to become a Fellow at the QNI. It’s hard to explain why this meant so much to me but here goes:

 

Back in the olden days when I was a student nurse we did community placements and I remember wanting to be a community nurse. I can still remember nursing the lady in Scarborough, at home, with her family, in their tiny house, where I realised this was how it should be. I remember going to the house to turn her every day of my placement. I attended her funeral when she died.

Somehow life got in the way of this nursing being my destiny. I think then, as now quite often, community nursing was not seen as a career for an ambitious young nurse and I was definitely one of those. I don’t regret my subsequent choices – I enjoyed being an acute nurse – but I do wonder what could have been different.

Now in 2015/16, especially having visited Buurtzorg in the Netherlands too, I strongly believe that nursing needs to invest its efforts more in community nursing as the way forward. It should be seen (and I hope increasingly is) as a brilliant career choice where we can help to change lives for the better especially in older age.

I am very very proud to be a Fellow of the QNI and I hope to make myself as helpful to this relatively small charity who in my opinion bat well above their weight (in a really good way).

Working in social media

Facebook_BackyardFence_SoMeFilmStillEarlier in the year I was lucky to be able to work with the NHS IQ team to produce a short video about using social media. It was a personal challenge that had been set by Steve Wheeler (@timbuckteeth) when I visited him in Plymouth the year before. Although Steve’s challenge was to do a series of interviews I decided that using another media for sharing was what I wanted to do and thanks to Helen Bevan (@helenbevan) this became a reality in 2015.

You can see the video here:

I was also very proud more recently to be ‘in-print’ with Alison Inglehearn (@mrsgracepoole) – she is another incredible lady. I wanted to publish something that went beyond the social media rah-rah and gave a more honest view of some of the risks of working here. Here is the result with grateful thanks to The Journal of Research in Nursing and in particular Elaine Maxwell (@maxwelle) for believing in us!

http://jrn.sagepub.com/content/20/7/625.full.pdf+html

I also attended the Diabetes UK conference this year as a patient and spoke about using social media.   Speaking there has been an ambition of mine for a long while and it was great fun alongside Alex Silverstein (@alexYLDiabetes), Partha Kar (@Pathakar) Roz Davies (@rozdavies) and Laura Cleverly (@ninjabetic1) – you guys rock :0)

The prezi we used is here

I have continued blogging this year too with 17K views of my sporadic blog. I know that’s not many for some people but I still think it’s pretty awesome!

The arrival of #RoryCat

henry

#Henrycat selfie

Losing Henry, the family cat was a blow, even though I had known he was unwell for such a long time but at the end of March it was time to let him go. He was a great friend and a brilliant member of our family. I didn’t think that the hole he left could be filled and in truth it can’t. But in September I decided that we were a family that should have a cat and as a result of contact with my fab vet we were linked to a local cat rescue, a small and amazing tiny charity who do great work especially with feral cats.

 

Rorycat

#Rorycat

Rory has arrived and is a blessing. Zag is shortly to arrive too. We are #catstaff once again at the Coopers!

 

Looking forward

I’m planning some changes in 2016. I can’t yet say what they are as they feel fragile still but I’m getting more and more confident as the weeks go by. I’m aiming for radical change and trying hard to demonstrate that I do as I do, not just as I say.

Wishing you all a happy, health and successful 2016. My only resolution is to laugh and smile more – I wish that for you too.

Zag cat

Zag due to arrived the week commencing 4th January 2016

Practicing what I preach – role modelling and social media


This blog is a bit of an experiment :0)

lead by exampleDespite not really setting out with any grand intentions in mind, I was identified as a Social Pioneer by the Nursing Times in 2014, mainly for both my promotion of engagement with people with long-term conditions on Social Media but also for my work with professionals in encouraging and role modelling.

I believe that in a modern society nurses should be digitally competent and have a high level of digital professionalism in order to:

‘uphold the reputation of your profession at all times. You should display a personal commitment to the standards of practice and behaviour set out in the Code. You should be a model of integrity and leadership for others to aspire to. This should lead to trust and confidence in the profession from patients, people receiving care, other healthcare professionals and the public.’ (Extract from the Code, NMC 2015)

I try hard to do this at all times and aspire to role model digital behaviours. Here are some examples of how I try to do this:

  • I work hard at holding professional conversations at the same time as maintaining a balance of being human and authentic.
  • I try to help others if they seem to be struggling.
  • I add value through adding content and materials that further nursing.
  • I share my knowledge of social media and have worked with NHSIQ to produce a simple film for practitioners – see here.

As part of my nursing revalidation I need to collect feedback about my practice.

It would be really brilliant if you could leave a comment for me below that I can use to further reflect for my professional portfolio!

Constructive feedback from anyone is welcomed, not just other nurses. Feedback from patients and students is particularly welcomed.

anniecoops

Thank you so much xxx

Thank you so much xxx

Social media and me


Private_Professional_SoMeFilmStillI think I joined Facebook in 2007; not exactly an early adopter but not a late-comer either. I can remember who sent me the link and why she said I would like it. She was right I did! Before that I was a user of ‘Friends Reunited’ too – you remember that? Where you could look people up from school? I became a Facebook fan and, as smart phones came into my life and I spent increasing amounts of time travelling with my phone in my hand, social media an increasingly important part of my personal life.

A little while later, in 2009, someone at work suggested I join Twitter. I am always curious about new things so I duly logged in and created my account – @anniecoops was born.

In February 2009, when I started my Twitter journey, I took ages to warm up. Like many people who I speak to I didn’t really ‘get’ it and after around 3 months of trying I gave up. Here is my illuminating first tweet :0) first tweet 1 (2)

I can’t remember what made me go back but after those 3 months but I suspect it was a challenge from someone who probably said ‘If you don’t get it, you are probably not trying hard enough’ and I absolutely can’t resist a challenge like that! I met some important friends along the way and by April 2015 I find that I have tweeted 74K times and now have 8600 followers. With the launch of a social media film that I have worked on with @NHSIQ I thought it was time to reflect on that journey and what has happened.

Here is a link to the film

annieAnnie was never my name, I always thought it was a bit twee for me, more of a nice girl name rather than the firm, straight and solid name Anne. I always say Anne is a good name, you can’t shorten it and it’s hard to mess with but I had no idea how ‘Annie’ was going to become part of my life. I had been called ‘Coops’ at work for quite a while and my son in the Cadets was called the same. When I tried to register @annecoops it was gone as was @annecooper. The addition of the ‘i’ to my first name was simply a pragmatic thing to do. I had no idea what was going to happen and that, by 2015, more people at work would call me Annie than Anne!

Facebook_BackyardFence_SoMeFilmStillMy social media journey has been a great addition to my professional life. Later in September 2012 started my wordpress blog and I re-discovered my love of reflecting through writing. By then AnnieCoops had taken hold as my ‘brand’ and also became the name of my blog.

I completely accept that social media is not for everyone – I dislike those who behave as zealots trying to pressurise people into using social media, particularly Twitter. It’s not for everyone but quite often there will be a platform that works for most people – I know lots of people who love Pinterest for example but I personally don’t get it as I clearly prefer the words and feelings that blogs evoke for me. I love Blipfoto as well but I am too ill-disciplined to be properly focussed on trying to improve my photography skills.

Social Media has been a positive experience for me and I thought it might be helpful to say why:

  • Professional inclusion

Working in informatics is hard. It’s like the geek club and most of the time I don’t actually belong in it – I’m tolerated and valued but not quite part of it either. Additionally in nursing informatics still feels peripheral. Back in 2009 I didn’t really think I was part of nursing, I had the sense, rightly or wrongly, that people didn’t really get the digital agenda and as a result I wasn’t really part of the nursing ‘family’ – I was labelled a geek* and therefore not part of where the nursing action was. Twitter changed that for me, I started to talk to other nurses and soon established a new network where I felt like I belonged and I continue to feel part of that family. It has given me a real opportunity to feel professionally re-connected and valued and to re-profile myself as more than the perceived ‘geek’.

  • Creating bridges

BridgesSocial Media has been great for me in making connections and creating bridges to new spaces. New spaces I have been given a glimpse into include connecting with more professionals including doctors, midwives, pharmacists, medical educators, people who working in housing and local government, the voluntary sector, leadership development, organisational development, education – the list is so long I can’t list everyone and I value all those connections more than I can explain. It has given my personal and professional life a greater breadth and depth that would not have been possible without social media. I value the eclectic nature of my connections and social media friends.

  • Being a patient

Being a professional who happens to have a long term condition like T1 Diabetes can be a challenge. I think for many years most of the time I ignored it. Social Media allowed me to not only find a Diabetes family but also to try to add value to that community. I have enjoyed blogging about my condition and also sharing via Twitter some of the ups and downs. I have tried to help others too and to share my expertise as a patient. I wish I had found this opportunity earlier in my life.

  • Access to resources and expertise

One of the very best things about Twitter is the generosity of the people I connect to. I have learnt more in the last few years about so many things and I believe that this is likely to make me a better professional but also a better person. Sharing is not just the technical stuff but thoughts feelings and emotions that help me to understand in a deeper way – it’s a better learning space than any lecture I have ever had at university.

* there is nothing wrong with being a geek it’s just that I’m not one by this definition: ‘”someone who is interested in a subject (usually intellectual or complex) for its own sake”social media film

‘But she’s my friend!’ – the power of making connections


connections 2A while ago I can remember @PaulJthinks encouraging people to follow me on Twitter as I was a hundred or so followers short of 3000. I now have nearing 8000 and I have been reflecting what that really means to me and how I use my valuable network.

There are a number of people who theorise about networks and connections. Metcalfe’s law is one of these, originating with a theory around Ethernet connections and now sometimes used to describe how number of possible cross-connections in a network grow as the square of the people in the network increases. In other words the community value of a network grows as the square of the number of its users increase.

It all sounds a bit technical to me, and a bit theoretical, but I’ve been reflecting on what my network means to me and how my numbers of followers seems to have grown without any deliberate act on my part to make it happen.

I have always been a connector in groups. In my social life I seem to create social groups and then, as they become impossible to manage socially as separate groups (there are just not enough days in a year), I join groups together. It’s not something I set out to do but I recognise that’s what happens; I am often the unique connection in our social groups – they lived next door, or I worked with them, or their children went to the same child-minder or I used to give them a lift to work.

I don’t set out to behave this way. I don’t set out to collect connections or people or friends it just seems to happen – I love people and I am very extrovert, not in the bouncing loud sort of way, at least all the time, but in the wanting to hear about people and share stories and experiences way. The truth is I am much more reserved than people think but this fascination with people makes me seem very extrovert I suspect (a previous blog covers exactly this here).

people connectingSo why am I thinking about networks and connections now? As I have strengthened my professional network with my social media activity I find I am increasingly focussed on how I can connect people together, that the relationship with me is not the most helpful one but that I can act as a sort of lightening rod to others; connecting wonderful people together. It hasn’t always felt this way but as the strength and depth of my social media network has increased I feel more able to do this – my investment in my relationships seems to have made them deeper and stronger. Again not deliberate act but on reflection that’s is probably what has happened.

When I first noticed this behaviour I did have a moment of anxiety. It’s a bit like when you are at school and your best friend wanders off with another friend that you introduced them to and my instinctive response might have been – ‘but she’s MY friend’.

Interestingly that isn’t what happens now and I’m fascinated by how connecting others to each other seems to step up the power in my network!  I have no idea how I got to 250 followers let alone near 8000 – it just seemed to happen but I do know I definitely feel connected to more great people.

lighteningIn the NHS today it feels more fragmented than ever before. Organisations seem less likely to share than in the past and networks that existed across Strategic Health Authorities for example feel like they have fallen away. I think that if we all behaved as active ‘connectors’ it might just power us up a little bit and we might even find that we become turbo charged if we connect beyond our usual networks; I personally love the fact I have connections in social care, housing, voluntary sector, who work for themselves, who work in the NHS – the list goes on. I don’t know exactly how it happened but I am glad it did and there is nothing more satisfying that making a successful introduction then watching some magic happen! I love my network and seeing it help me to help others through acting as a connector is doubly satisfying – even if there is a little demon on my shoulder saying ‘don’t forget to keep loving me too will you?’

Could you be a better connector? I’m going to keep trying.