I’ve spent a really lovely day at CommsCamp in Birmingham, recharging my batteries after a busy few weeks. Spending time listening to (mainly) public sector comms people doing interesting things in their organisations has taught me loads about what’s happening at the cutting edge. It’s also reminded me just how powerful the unconference format is with the right mix of people. I went to five sessions, all interesting, all different, none of which would have worked without the infrastructure the organisers Dan, Darren, Emma and Kate brought to the event, and all of which would have failed if they’d tried to structure it more. It’s really a magical format for professional development, and the comms2point0 team deserves a medal.

Someone once invented a useful ’20 things I learned at…’ format for post-event blogging, so here goes:

  1. I can vouch for the fact that Manzil’s is very nice
  2. The Radisson Blu, Birmingham is one of the nicest hotels I’ve stayed in, and good value
  3. The Defamation Act 2013 is worth knowing about: amongst other things, it defines that publishers online can’t be sued for libel more than 12 months after a piece of content is first uploaded (h/t @DBanksy)
  4. There’s no legal precedent yet for whether organisations are liable for libellous comments left on their Facebook page. That’s an interesting one.
  5. Don’t wait: if you get your correction/apology in early, you’ll save big time on libel action costs, apparently, in terms of correcting any harm considered to be done
  6. There’s no-win-no-fee style changes coming in November as part of the reforms to press regulation: 2 or more people publishing news content online are considered publishers, and if they aren’t in a Royal Charter-endorsed regulated body, they’re liable for costs of legal actions against them. Time to check that group blog over just in case.
  7. The Privilege defence in libel actions gives public sector organisations justification to talk about their work if they can defend it as fair, accurate, relevant and without malicious intent (that last one matters)
  8. You can use WhatsApp on the web (and @colebagski did, at Birmingham City Council during the last election period)
  9. On WhatsApp, you can share video and infographics to a Broadcast List of up to 256 recipients – and the resulting comments are surprisingly civilised
  10. Intranets stir up strong feelings, and we need to show & tell more to share the cultural lessons learned or there’s a risk of getting stuck in religious wars between platforms
  11. Uploading a video directly on Facebook is much better for engagement and functionality than sharing a YouTube link (it autoplays, and shows closed captions amongst other useful tips, from @AlbFreeman. More about video beyond YouTube here.)
  12. Iconosquare lets you access more analytics for your Instagram account, and search tags neatly (h/t @DaveMusson)
  13. …and Instagram hashtags do matter to build audience since that’s how a lot of people find stuff. You can add up to 30 per post.
  14. ‘IGers’ are local groups of Instagram users who you could give exclusive, behind the scenes access to your organisation to engage a whole new audience
  15. You can regram
  16. Orcid identifiers help you identify as an author online (h/t Andy Mabbett)
  17. Christine Townsend used to police my old hometown of Hastings
  18. The Children’s Encyclopaedia Britannica on CD-ROM runs to 7 discs
  19. You can have three different kinds of lemon drizzle cake, all of which are lovely
  20. The chaps of Govdelivery make a fine Victoria sponge and coffee & walnut cake (and have 5m UK subscribers to boot)

If there’s a common theme running through the (non food-related) points above, it’s that we’re at at interesting and confusing inflection point in corporate social media use. Newer channels like WhatsApp, Instagram and Periscope are challenging comms people, IT managers, news organisations and lawyers to confront questions about public vs private spaces, niche vs numbers, and publishers vs participants. Mistakes will and need to be made as we discover where those lines are drawn, and intelligent people like the CommsCampers need the space and opportunity to make them.

I’ve not enjoyed myself or learned so much in ages.

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Thanks really usefull digest and some areas i will check out particularly whats app broadcast and Igers

I agree re the Radisson Blu Birmingham Steph, but you might like to try the Hotel La Tour if you should be in Birmingham overnight another time. The bedrooms are on a par, possibly even a tad better than the Blu!