pinterest: more than cath kidston and cupcakes

How do you share new ideas? There's a team in Wales who are finding the answers and finding ways to make them available. 

by GUEST EDITORS Ena Lloyd and Dyfrig Williams

The Good Practice Team have come together over the last 18 months with a purpose of sharing new and emerging ideas to help improve Welsh public services.

We have a very tight budget, so we need to be very creative with how we make the most of our resources.

We have learnt over the last 18 months that different people take information on board in different ways.

So we have developed a Good Practice blog, Twitter campaigns (which have led to Storify), new website content, case studies and videos to accommodate different learning styles.

But we still sent all this information as a list of hyperlinks by email, which was all a bit unappealing to the eye. When we evaluated our approaches, it was clear that our impact wasn’t quite where it needed to be. Our long list of resources was so uninviting; I couldn’t really imagine anyone actually reading the email. Visually it said ‘bin me’, not ‘read me’! Our role is to help public services work and think in new ways, and our use of Pinterest shows that we practice what we preach in that we are sharing information in a social way.

Importantly it pulls together all the information into one place, and it also gives us the chance to learn from what other people are doing. 

We still use email as one of the ways to share the Pinterest board. We learnt a valuable lesson whilst working on a large scrutiny event. We didn’t want the event to be just about the one day. We wanted to generate awareness in the run up, during the event and afterwards. We used a range of social media but found that with this particular community, what worked for them was still a weekly email. It was still the main way they wanted to communicate with us, so we used this to drive traffic to the resources.

We’ve also learnt that many of the people we’re trying to reach still have restrictions on their web access. By using social media platforms like Pinterest, we give public services the mandate to challenge this and to develop new networks. As auditors, we are seen as traditionalists and not natural bedfellows with social media.

So if we use it, we can help to give legitimacy to other public organisations’ use of social media. The biggest learning point for us has been that a one size fits all approach doesn’t work - think about your community and adapt to suit their needs. 

The Good PracticeExchange at the Wales Audit Office on the social web

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodPracticeWAO

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/goodpracticewao/

Vimeo:  http://vimeo.com/walesauditoffice

WordPress blog:  http://goodpracticeexchange.wordpress.com/ 

Ena Lloyd and Dyfrig Williams work for the Good Practice Exchange at the Welsh Audit Office.