Workshop: Social Media for Community Engagement, Fife Rights Forum (2nd May)

Last week Third Sector Lab’s Ross McCulloch and I were invited through to Kirkcaldy to host some workshops at the Fife Rights Forum event.

About FRF:

Fife Rights Forum is the partnership organisation for Fife’s advice and rights groups. Responsible for co-ordinating the strategic development of advice, rights and financial inclusion work in Fife, Fife Rights Forum strives to support the delivery of high quality advice, rights and financial inclusion services to the people of Fife by:

Promoting co-operation, information-sharing and joint-working across the sector
Sharing and promoting good practice in advice provision
Supporting the design, delivery and review of advice, rights and financial inclusion services
Liaising with other partnerships and networks to promote integrated, quality service delivery
Encouraging community involvement and engagement through effective client/agency interactions

Fife Rights Forum has more than 300 members and holds quarterly meetings to network, exchange information and discuss topical issues within the advice, rights and financial inclusion sector. The work of the Forum is guided by the FRF Partnership and is supported by the FRF Co-ordinator.

Below is the slides and notes from the workshop that I delivered based on some of the case studies that I’ve been working on in my role as a Community Media Development Worker at WHALE Arts Agency in Wester Hailes and through ongoing research/projects at the University of the West of Scotland.

Social Media for Community Engagement:


The increasing ubiquitous nature of social media and growth of emerging mobile technologies such as smart phones and tablet computing make it increasingly easier for people to access and produce their own media content in the form of digital storytelling. Using a variety of case studies, this workshop will focus on the importance of immediacy (of content generation and upload), connectedness (physically and virtually), locality (as the origin of stories), empowerment (to become media makers) and participation (the ethos of accessibility) as features of successful community engagement initiatives using social media.

Three case studies – talked about the 3 recent projects that I’ve been working on.

  • #citizenrelay (networked)
  • #digitalsentinel (hyper-local)
  • #celebrateitscot (national)

Describe the technical changes, from community newspapers/forums to a more fluid, networked approach (hashtags to pull together content, rather than the curation of the website by one or two people)

one to many -> many to many


  • content generation and upload, using mobile tools that are already connected to the internet so that you can find the story, capture it and get it online and reduces the time spent actually doing the technical parts of the content generation.

(use examples of #citizenrelay and the digital sentinel – perhaps even show videos from citizen’s eye as an example of the whys and the whats.)

  • the important qualities is capturing interesting story telling in a non-evasive manner.
  • Demonstrate how easy it is to do by interviewing a person and getting them to upload content?


  • Talk about local identity and how themes cut across location and topic (bedroom tax)
    • Citizen journalism (explanation)
      • ‘cutting edge of mundane’
  • You do not need to feel that you have to comment on the ‘big’ stories that the mainstream media focus on. It is about story telling (show the video from the homeless demostration – but also of the services)


  • Taking control of the message and developing an understanding of how media is made.
  • Show the video of John talking about the digital sentinel and how empowered he feels about the process. Breaking down some basic techniques so they can get over the fear of how the technology works and focus more constructing it back together. We have a basic understanding of video and the written word.


  • Meeting spaces, places to come together to work together (offline just as important as the online to keep the momentum going)
  • storytelling, why you are doing something and what prompts a person to tell stories about their community? needs a motivation
  • Make it accessible, it does not need to be big and fancy.
  • needs to be a purpose for the community, recruitment can be a challenge if project isn’t communicated successfully. Although organic, need to have some leadership.