So long, farewell, SMDL!

Well, haven’t the past 8 weeks just flown by! It seems like only yesterday we made our first tentative steps into the world of the Social Media Driving Licence, and now it is all over, sob, sob.

When I think back to the first week where we put our current feelings about social media to post-it notes, I can see that my confidence has definitely grown. Never did I think I would have written 8 blog posts, taken to Twitter (although admittedly I still haven’t been tweeting as much as I should be!) and understood the weird and wonderful world of Google +.

Michael Arrighi - Flikr -

Michael Arrighi – Flikr –

I still need to make more of an effort to engage with Twitter, and still don’t entirely see what all the fuss is about, but I have really enjoyed using it as an information source, particularly for news stories. I still think I will be more of a Visitor than a Resident though!

I really enjoyed learning about tools I knew nothing about, such as PicMonkey and Storify, and I’m sure I’ll be putting my new-found knowledge to good use! On a professional level, I definitely want to start using and engaging with Twitter more, and perhaps continue with blogging. I think Storify would also be a good tool to use. I see on Twitter that Clarence House have recently done a ‘Happy Birthday Prince George’ Storify! Well if it’s good enough for them…….


I think one of our biggest Social Media challenges will still be time, both the time it takes to set things up from scratch, and the time it takes to build and engage with followers. While I certainly feel more confident after the SMDL, I still feel rather nervous about taking that first leap into Social Media, particularly on a Professional Level. I know I can’t keep putting it off for ever though……

One of my SMDL highlights was reading all my fellow participants blog posts. It’s nice to know I am not alone in my thoughts, feelings and sometimes frustrations when it comes to Social Media. It’s also great to see what a talented bunch of writers we all are!

Well, that brings me to the end of the SMDL. It will be very strange this week not having a blog post to write or podcasts to listen to! I am also very upset that there will be no more retro sweets *sad face*

 Thank you so much to the SMDL team for all your hard work.





Sharing and Caring on Social Media – Group Hug!

In our penultimate session of the Social Media Driving Licence we learnt how to be good social media citizens!

I must admit, I may not have been such a good citizen in the past. As I look through my previous blog posts, I see all the images I have used which I saved straight from Google Image searches, with no thought to crediting the image sources…ooops…..slapped wrists all round. I hadn’t ever given much thought to crediting sources, it always seemed like a bit of a free for all: Google an image, save it, use it. If it’s an image widely available on the internet, why do I need to do anything else?

Well I have now been enlightened to the existence of the Creative Commons Licence.

As part of the session, we learnt how to source images on Flikr. Despite the initial hurdles and frustrations of getting through the sign up page and signing your life over to Yahoo, when you are finally able to access Flikr you have access to array of fantastic images. You can also filter the images down to ‘Creative Commons Licence Only’ images, so you can search safe in the knowledge that you aren’t going to infringe on someone’s copyright.

So all that’s left for me to do is to put my new found Flikr/photo crediting skills to the test, and what better way to do that than through the medium of cute cat pictures!

3406881038_686644b285_o Photocredit: Flikr: julicath/Cath (On- Off ;-))

22252709_010df3379e_o Photocredit: Flikr: Kpjas

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Photocredit: Flikr: Jon Pinder

8098072048_c6dec156e8_o Photocredit: Flikr: clarissa rossarola

Still not convinced by Google+

Despite being one of the very early adopters of Gmail, I must admit I don’t know much about Google+. It’s one of these things I’d vaguely heard about, but didn’t quite ‘get’, not that I’d really ever looked into what it actually was.

There are certain Google products I use all the time: the search engine, maps, Gmail, calendars, YouTube, and Android on my tablet, so I was intrigued to learn more about the mysterious world of Google+.


From first signing in, I found it a bit of a mash that was similar to Facebook, Twitter and Feedly. I think perhaps that’s why I am not really convinced, I am not really sure what Google+ offers that is different to other social networks, plus I suppose I am reluctant to have yet another social network to check, update, post on etc… sometimes it feels like social media overload, and it is nice to retreat back into the real world of face to face interactions.

It seems that I’m not the only one who isn’t convinced by Google+.

I’m not too comfortable with the way the Google+ account is linked to all your other Google accounts. While I may be happy to have my photograph on my Google+ profile, I’m not so sure that I also want it also appearing on my emails when I am emailing the Council or Estate Agents to arrange house viewings.

I’m not sure what Google Hangouts have to offer, over and above instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, or even sending group messages on Facebook which is me my preferred method of chatting in a group.

I think for any new social network to succeed these days, it needs to offer something truly and uniquely different that you can’t get from any other social networks.

So sorry Google, as much as I have tried, I don’t think I’ll be ‘hanging-out’ in you any time soon. Perhaps that is just me showing my age………


Using Social Media in HR

What’s that I hear? Is it the opening lines to ‘Never Let it Go’ by Bluesraiders? It can only mean one thing……another fantastic Podcast from a CJBS Staff Member for the Social Media Driving Licence Participants!

Today I will be blogging about my fellow CJBSSMDL Participant and HR Director Julie Brown, whose Podcast focused on using social media in HR. I chose this particular Podcast as I used to work in HR myself, and I  also wanted to learn more about using social media in my current role, which involves recruiting students.


It was interesting to hear how Social Media isn’t just used for traditional recruitment methods such as pushing out job adverts, but is also used by prospective employees to find out more about the company, the experience of working there and the culture of an organisation.I think this is similar for prospective students, which is why I hope to develop the MFin Social Media offering to help prospective students get a sense of what it is really like to study here.

Julie explained that interview candidates will be searching social media to gather information, rather than just relying on the company website. Of course there is some risk if employees are saying negative things on social media, but genuine positive views are a good thing.

Julie explained that most of the current social media at CJBS is used for business purposes, but not many employees are writing about their own experiences of working here – perhaps that will change if we all manage to keep up our blogging and tweeting once the SMDL finishes!

CJBS have been advertising job vacancies on LinkedIn and now no longer use printed media for advertising. Julie explained that the downside of using LinkedIn is that it was too easy to just click to apply for a job which then led to sifting through hundreds of CVs from unsuitable candidates. I have had similar experiences when advertising the MFin on LinkedIn, and then being deluged with CVs and enquiries from applicant’s who don’t meet the criteria. The good points of LinkedIn is that it is a good way of finding and identifying prospective candidates, as long as the option to apply through LinkedIn is turned off!!

Julie confirmed that they don’t consistently check prospective employees social media accounts (yet!) but LinkedIn profiles are often looked at, particularly for more senior roles.

She did confirm that Google searches on potential employees are sometimes carried out, so if you want to apply for a job at CJBS, Google yourself first!!


What a Hoot!

It’s week 5 of the Social Media Driving Licence, and I can’t believe we’re over half way through already!

This week we focused on Twitter tools, and using Hootsuite to manage our tweets.

My first thought when I saw the Hootsuite dashboard was ‘Aaaarrrggghhhhhh’ there was such a large amount information everywhere, it was more of a confusing jumble than looking at my organic twitter feed!


I think as I still have so few twitter followers and people I’m following (is there a collective term for people you follow on twitter……..following-ers?!) then I am yet to fully understand the benefits of Hootsuite, although I can see how it would be useful if you have thousands of followers and are following thousands of people.

As my fellow smdl-er @economicalruth put it, ‘Hootsuite makes me feel like a stock market trader, but with tweets’.






Going live!

After a week of trying to get to grips with the art of tweeting, it was time for our first Twitter challenge of the Social Media Driving Licence – live Tweeting an event!


I’m still not entirely comfortable with using Twitter, and haven’t quite decided whether my account will be a work-related one, a personal one or a blend of the two. I have mainly spent the week re-tweeting things, but have ventured into posting a few of my own tweets and got very excited when one of my tweets was re-tweeted and favourited!

Anyway, back to the live tweeting, and what a challenge it was! Our Director of External Affairs (@NathalieEmma) presented her personal social media journey to us, as we all furiously tapped away on the keyboard trying to document the talk.

It was much more challenging that I first anticipated, and certainly required the art of multi-tasking. Trying to listen to the talk, compose an interesting tweet in 140 characters, block out the noise of everyone else typing away, as well as watching everyone else’s tweets coming in on the hashtag #cjbssmdl was a hard task to master.

It was great to see everyone else’s tweets, and interesting to see which parts of the talk different people had picked out to tweet about. It was also great to interact with people who weren’t in the room but were following the talk on the hashtag and commenting.

We were assured that live tweeting in a real life situation wouldn’t be as difficult, and distracting as it was for us. For a start there wouldn’t be 20 other people in the room clattering away on their keyboards at the same time (hopefully!)

Afterwards, Nathalie commented that for her, it was like presenting to a Call Centre. I guess it is difficult to present when your audience are all staring into a computer screen and typing away at the same time!


In the end my team won the prize for the most number of tweets sent during the session (go Team Eagle!!) Hang on a minute, what happened to our prize bottle of champagne?!


To tweet or not to tweet?

I confess, over the past few years I have been a big Twitter sceptic. I may have even gone so far as to slightly agree with David Cameron when he made his infamous ‘too many tweets make a twat’ comment.

I thought that Twitter was banal; celebrities caught up in self-promotion and profile raising ‘scandals’, lots of lots of ‘noisy’ conversations, making it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff and hone in on what you were really interested in. That combined with the inane tweets of people’s lunches and not so interesting things they were up to and wanted to broadcast to the world.


I’ve never been one for self-promotion, which might explain why I’ve had my Twitter account registered since March 2009 but have only ever sent a handful of (now deleted!) tweets. I have actually been fairly active on Twitter, listening in on conversations, reading some of the hilarious comments during national events such as the Olympics Opening Ceremony, and seeing what people have to say when breaking news stories take place. However I’ve never wanted to ‘put myself out there’ and get involved in the conversations myself.

In week 3 of the Social Media Driving Licence (or should I now say #cjbssmdl) we got a great overview of Twitter and the practical exercises really helped to get a grip with some of the Twitter nuances such as hashtags, DMs, MTs, as well as etiquette such as crediting other tweeters.

And, as all those on the course are now following each other, I now have some actual followers, hurrah!!

I’ve been sending the odd tweet, and was very excited when my one of tweets was re-tweeted!


So I now feel more confident to venture out into the Twittersphere, and can take comfort in the fact that my first tweet was not such as disaster as Ed Balls’, which I understand is now celebrated with a yearly anniversary.


If you would like to follow me and see whether I can keep this up, my Twitter handle is @girlcalledjess.

Time to stop listening and start talking (or tweeting!)