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Weekly Discussion: Has social media changed Guiding?

Has the social media changed Guiding?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Unsure

  • Other


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badgemad4

Veteran (100+ posts)
#1
There is a sister thread for this specifically about the internet (Weekly Discussion: Has the internet changed Guiding?) as although there is some crossover things like Go, Join Us and email have had more of a universal impact on volunteers (there is no way to run a unit without at least one leader or an assigned unit administrator being online as an example).

Social media and Guiding has arguably really picked up over the past five years. Although there is evidence of older forms of social groups (Yahoo groups, BOGUK, Guides Reconnected etc) they have fallen by the wayside in a way that FB doesn't seem to be doing or were more resource sharing based. Some may say that this site is slowly disappearing due to FB. One of the most notable differences is how there seems to be less of a boundary between our personal lives and social media.

What do you all think? Has social media changed Guiding and Girlguiding?
 
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Quack

Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#2
Yes, undoubtedly.
Rightly or wrongly, social media via FB local or national groups, forums etc are now one of the major places that leaders will receive information about Guiding, local events, changes to policy, policy itself.

I would say 9 out of 10 leaders will consult social media for an answer to a query before consulting the official sources (GG website/manual) or their Commissioner, fellow unit leaders. As a consequence the value of the answer they receive is only as as good as the reliabilty of the source, which in some cases is highly suspect.
 

badgemad4

Veteran (100+ posts)
#3
I think its made us a lot more connected, and its changed how we respond to things. If I am going on a trip with members I don't know we can set up a group chat to get to know each other a little or stay in touch afterwards. I did DofE with Guiding via region and it honestly made such a difference being able to coordinate in-between our meet ups. Members of our unit can tag/DM on FB to ideas as we see them rather than store them up. FB groups mean we can very quickly get ideas and answers, and even an older UH who doesn't attend area meetings or is tec savvy can know whats going on with Guiding.

I understand why lots of units do it but I don't have a closed FB group. I want just a little bit of a layer of privacy and space between myself and Brownie parents. I don't want to be contacted with non urgent questions that they can see I have read but I'm not going to respond to because its half eleven at night,whereas with email its a little easier to wait until my next Guiding admin session. I'm slightly concerned in the future it will become expected to be willing to have this level of access to leaders.

Away from the unit and to general Guiding. Looking at the response to the "new" Guide uniform as an example. Its very easy to quickly mash "yuck" or even "no" under a shared post, whereas in conversation we are slightly more likely to say "I don't like it" and have a discussion. I think though that uniform-gate was a turning point for informing members and us being aware at how picked up on our responses are.
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#4
Undoubtedly.

In many ways for the better, in some ways probably for the worse.

For the better
Less isolation for Leaders, especially those who work in remote locations, or have the only unit of their section in the area, or who aren't able to readily access District meetings.

Access to a wider range of ideas - pre-internet the ideas sources were books, trainings, and one's own imagination. All of the ideas for activities, games, holiday themes - had to come from those sources. There was no google to find instructions for the idea you had had. Templates had to be hand drawn.

Access to a wider range of viewpoints - in the past, if you didn't agree with what you were told by a Commissioner or Adviser, and you couldn't find the answer in your copy of POR, you had to either decide it was a serious enough matter to take higher - or accept the verdict. There were few other people you could ask who could consider the question independent of local personalities/preconceptions. Equally, customs might have gone on unquestioned for years despite actually being at odds with the rules - more discussion meant that some of these were revealed and could then be corrected.

Ease of communications - where in the past 'contacting the unit team' meant phoning round each one, paying visits, or sending letters through the post, now discussions could be held in conversation style, with everyone able to see what had been said before adding their contribution.


For the worse
Some of these options have been used to replace physical get-togethers. As a result there tends to be occasional emails circulated rather than a regular gathering, meaning less chance for the individual Leaders to get to meet each other and build relationships between units, and less opportunity for informal discussion/ideas swapping (the 'car park' conversations).

With so many ideas available - it becomes harder for Leaders to plough through the flood and choose challenging, balanced programmes. It is easy to have your eye caught by 'just one more craft' or 'that great-looking video' and end up with a programme which is one-sided.

Lots of viewpoints, yes - but as with all internet searching - how many are authoritative? Have the people who are giving their opinions on what the rule book says or means - actually read it recently, or not? So often a question which asks "what is the rule about" is answered with "what we do is" - which may or may not be within the spirit or the letter of the rules. Ask a question about ratios and you will receive a flood of conflicting answers.

Ease of communications - which brings with it increased expectations. In the past it was considered entirely reasonable for there to be a week between someone sending you a letter, and receiving your reply. They expected you to spend a day or so thinking and drafting your reply. Phone calls were expected between 9am and 9pm at most, unless in the most dire of emergencies, and before answerphones, it was reasonable for people to need a couple of days to get hold of you. Now - no sooner have people sent emails than they are looking for replies to them. People who send texts or PMs look for responses within the half hour if not sooner. And it can then be hard to keep the hobby in it's place - where once you could devote an hour a week to your Guiding admin and not touch it the rest of the time, now it's all too easy to be sucked into doing something related to it most days.
 

Hilary

Guide Guider and District Commissioner
GuiderPlus
#5
The Facebook groups have only replaced the yahoo groups and forums like this one. The big difference for my unit and district has been closed Facebook groups. I am much closer to this generation of parents than I was to those of even five years ago, let alone ten or fifteen. Because we post pictures from unit meetings, camps and trips the parents have a much better understanding of what we do than they ever had before - and we get lots of thank yous.
 

Fox

Brownie-induced madness
#6
I would say 9 out of 10 leaders will consult social media for an answer to a query before consulting the official sources (GG website/manual) or their Commissioner, fellow unit leaders. As a consequence the value of the answer they receive is only as as good as the reliabilty of the source, which in some cases is highly suspect.
This is so true. Though of course sometimes the manual is hard to decipher (or contradictory) and Commissioners can be wrong (sometimes, it seems, wilfully so!)
 

Trinny

Veteran (100+ posts)
#7
One thing I dislike about social media is that it makes it easier to compare yourself and your unit to others.
Sometimes, this can lead to revelations or learning new things (I personally always like hearing how people administer Brownie Adventures), but sometimes it makes you feel a bit rubbish because Sheila's unit did a votes for women night using a time machine and a trip to Parliament, and all you had time to run was toasting marshmallows.

Also, even spending a few days on some of the groups, or even on here, you find some "big names" in each group. Some are admins, some are frequent posters, but their comments shape the rest of the discussion, even if they don't mean to. Other opinions, particularly conflicting opinions, are crowded out too easily. Those big names end up becoming practically gospel, rightly or wrongly. And that's a shame, because everyone who helps in a unit has a valid opinion and can help and teach others.
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#8
One thing I dislike about social media is that it makes it easier to compare yourself and your unit to others.
Sometimes, this can lead to revelations or learning new things (I personally always like hearing how people administer Brownie Adventures), but sometimes it makes you feel a bit rubbish because Sheila's unit did a votes for women night using a time machine and a trip to Parliament, and all you had time to run was toasting marshmallows.

Also, even spending a few days on some of the groups, or even on here, you find some "big names" in each group. Some are admins, some are frequent posters, but their comments shape the rest of the discussion, even if they don't mean to. Other opinions, particularly conflicting opinions, are crowded out too easily. Those big names end up becoming practically gospel, rightly or wrongly. And that's a shame, because everyone who helps in a unit has a valid opinion and can help and teach others.
I think one of the difficulties on the groups is speed. Once one incorrect answer to a 'what is the rule on' question is posted it can be difficult to get it corrected, and people then leave with misinformation which almost leaves them worse off than being in the dark. Or people fire off immediate responses to a contentious topic, taking no time to step away and calm down or to word what they are saying - and what were merely differing opinions become full-blown heated arguments which continue back and forth until someone gets upset.
 

Fox

Brownie-induced madness
#9
You also get those "big names" at County/Division/District level, who have always been there, done that, and have a strong opinion on things like should Brownies camp, can Rainbows cut things out etc.!
 

dragnilk

Regular (50+ posts)
#10
I would say no because I personally don't really interact with social media for guiding purposes and that is a personal decision on my behalf. We don't have an FB group for our unit and I would be reluctant to have one as its another information stream to have to monitor. I think it might be that in our district a lot of the Leadership team are dare I say it "older" and aren't really interested in social media and so we don't distribute information amongst ourselves that way. Perhaps when younger leaders start to become the Leaders in charge it will change or maybe if I were involved with ss and then members I interacted with were more social media savvy I would have to be myself. Or maybe I have my blinkers on and am actually missing out and being left behind because I'm not interested in social media myself?
 

Trinny

Veteran (100+ posts)
#11
So apparently the long-awaited recruitment drive is over. It was a social media campaign that basically involved 1 video, a Facebook frame that had no reference to Girlguiding, a couple of posts from the official Facebook page and a sponsored article on a blog.

Apparently, over 2000 people enquired about volunteering on Go because of the campaign. Do you know anyone who has joined because of it? Were you expecting more? Were you expecting less? Do you think social media was the right medium?
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#12
So apparently the long-awaited recruitment drive is over. It was a social media campaign that basically involved 1 video, a Facebook frame that had no reference to Girlguiding, a couple of posts from the official Facebook page and a sponsored article on a blog.

Apparently, over 2000 people enquired about volunteering on Go because of the campaign. Do you know anyone who has joined because of it? Were you expecting more? Were you expecting less? Do you think social media was the right medium?
Have they given a breakdown of the cost per recruit for those over and above the average number?
 

badgemad4

Veteran (100+ posts)
#13
I think social media was a good move for some of the target group (young professionals/younger women 25-35 I believe?) on a national level. Whether or not the style, design and theme of the campaign worked/was liked is perhaps something else.

Grassroots methods of recuitment often are: notes that parents will see (school, email home from unit, flyer in places where children are), notice in local newsletters seen by an older population, student volunteer fairs and simply by being seen out and about. These seem to attract the same groups, mums of girls in the unit, students and older women. But students move away/term time only/have exam periods, Mum might only want to help when she has children in the unit, and older volunteers might want to wind down. Nothing is wrong with this, and their help is valued. Most of the 20-35 YO volunteers I know are “home grown”, but arguably its an age group with lots to offer and might be less reached with traditional grassroots recruitment.

For those who didn’t like it, what would you suggest instead? (Not meant passive aggressive , meant as a conversation point)
 

Trinny

Veteran (100+ posts)
#14
These seem to attract the same groups, mums of girls in the unit, students and older women. But students move away/term time only/have exam periods, Mum might only want to help when she has children in the unit, and older volunteers might want to wind down. Nothing is wrong with this, and their help is valued. Most of the 20-35 YO volunteers I know are “home grown”, but arguably its an age group with lots to offer and might be less reached with traditional grassroots recruitment.
A growing number of 25-30 year olds are doing exams, be they professional qualifications, masters/postgraduate degrees, or moving abroad or to different parts of the country for work. I have exam sittings twice a year in April and September, and it's so hard running a unit around those times. I for one am going to be leaving guiding this year because my district is not giving enough support during these periods. And a lot of women that age will be starting families and again, potentially taking time out of guiding, or moving out of area to buy a house. So as much as it would be great to get a load of units started, run by 25-30 year olds, when they leave or want a break, it could leave districts in difficult situations with units with no leaders. That's not to say they shouldn't be targeted to volunteer, but its a volatile age group in a changing situation and girlguiding and local areas need to think really carefully about how to manage this.
 

Quack

Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#15
A growing number of 25-30 year olds are doing exams, be they professional qualifications, masters/postgraduate degrees, or moving abroad or to different parts of the country for work. I have exam sittings twice a year in April and September, and it's so hard running a unit around those times. I for one am going to be leaving guiding this year because my district is not giving enough support during these periods. And a lot of women that age will be starting families and again, potentially taking time out of guiding, or moving out of area to buy a house. So as much as it would be great to get a load of units started, run by 25-30 year olds, when they leave or want a break, it could leave districts in difficult situations with units with no leaders. That's not to say they shouldn't be targeted to volunteer, but its a volatile age group in a changing situation and girlguiding and local areas need to think really carefully about how to manage this.
A lot of local areas don't have a lot of choice who and how they manage, they are just desparate for new help. Not all leaders are parents or even work locally, a lot of 'dormatory villages/estates' exist with no real community hub, peeople don't necessarily go to church, the village hall or may not have a pub. So social media is the one way to get the message out locally that we exist.

I take the point that a lot of people are still building careers in their late20's or early 30's but that's exactly the time to catch them, to get them into the habit of volunteering. In my office most in that age group find time to go to the gym reguarly or do park run...we need to persuade them that giving time to us can be equally rewarding and energertic. We need to encourage people to get out from behind their front doors and engage...we need to be flexible, we need to be supportive but with more volunteers we can do that.

Sent from my SGP712 using Tapatalk
 

partygirl

Veteran (100+ posts)
#16
So apparently the long-awaited recruitment drive is over. It was a social media campaign that basically involved 1 video, a Facebook frame that had no reference to Girlguiding, a couple of posts from the official Facebook page and a sponsored article on a blog.

Apparently, over 2000 people enquired about volunteering on Go because of the campaign. Do you know anyone who has joined because of it? Were you expecting more? Were you expecting less? Do you think social media was the right medium?
Well, it's debatable for us really. Directly from the campaign we didn't get anyone but I shared the film all over Twitter, including sending it directly to a few reporters. One of them picked it up and came to one of my Rainbow units to film. It was shown on the local BBC news and I then shared the piece of film all over social media. We have now had 5 new volunteers and still going up.

I think to call it a "campaign" was a bit overambitious. To run it on social media was a good idea, as it kind of reached some of the right age group but there were no actual targeted posts that I saw. We've had more luck with local paid for posts on Facebook than this brought in. It all felt a bit half-hearted to be fair and I kept expecting something else. CHQ seem to have spent a long time (and probably money) on making a film etc and then not really doing anything with it. Other people have said they didn't see anything on mainstream tv about it at all (I don't really watch tv so can't say myself) and the only time they saw the film/slideshow etc was when I shared it.

I think the age group was right and you could make some point against every age of women to be fair. In their 30's and 40's (I'm generalising) they are busy with work and children, in their 50's and 60's with work and grandchildren etc. I think we have to face the fact that volunteering is not necessarily something people do for life now and there will be turnover. I have already spoken to the deputy chief guide about the fact that as an organisation for women it's quite awful that we don't have any maternity provision and she has brought it up with the trustees (no answer yet). Going forwards we should be looking after the volunteers we already have and making it easier for units to practice flexible Guiding, not just looking for new ones.

What would I do differently? I understand the idea behind the film but it didn't really tell people what we do on a day to day basis. Our little minute and a half film of girls having fun was much more successful ( a medal to the Rainbow who said "I absolutely LOVE Rainbows!"). They could have paid for Facebook ads, which are not that expensive, to promote it and reached many more targeted people instead of just relying on members to share it. With advertising, apparently you have to see something quite a few times before it sinks in, so to have the "campaign" so short was a mistake. They could have followed up the first wave with some more bits about what we actually do, what volunteers get from it (it's Fun!), dispel some of the barriers to volunteering that people see etc.
 
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