Defence Connect Symposium

What it was

Talks and breakout sessions on social collaboration in defence, with various speakers including knowledge management consultant Chris Collison, held at MOD on 24 October 2018.

What I learned

  • Knowledge is key to the defence enterprise
  • The need for additional logins is a barrier to adoption of social collaboration in defence
  • Not everyone is happy to use a personal device for work
  • We need processes and curation around wikis and similar tools.

Social Collaboration:

  • Collaboration is the combination of:
    • Authenticity
    • Trust
    • Passion
  • Authenticity – being your own open self, known to yourself and to others – is key for successful social collaboration
  • Trust requires vulnerability. It thrives under reciprocation.
  • Tom Davenport’s “kindergarten rationale” posits on when and why
  • Passion is enthusiasm, commitment, devotion, curiosity
  • A simple model for online communities:
    • Communities of interest
    • Communities of practice
    • Communities of purpose
  • Learning communities can be thought of across various dimensions:
    • Inside vs outside
    • Formal vs informal
    • Learning from, each other with
  • The Met Office have a simple charter for their communities of practice: its purpose, membership, roles, ways of working and tools, behaviours, and its outcomes and measures
  • Consumers, contributors, creators – the rule thumb ratio is
    90:9:1. Defence connect is about 70:20:10 which is healthy.
  • Syngenta used “TREE” awards for their communities of practice; for Transfer of a good practice, Reuse of a good practice, Embedding a good practice, sharing a difficult Experience.

What I will aim to do differently as a result

  • Explore whether we can get the app installed on official phones
  • Export and explain the success that the Army has had.
  • Explore how Defence Connect can formally support learning via the DLMC project
  • Re-engage with the online defence and wider Government communities

CIPR case study – Best Use of Social Media

What it was:

Review of a case study from the CIPR Awards for social media campaigns – MSL Group’s campaign -“Always #LIKEAGIRL”


What I learned:

Key points from the campaign:

  • Activity was based on solid research insight (confidence plummeting at puberty).
  • Activity was very much in line with the grain of the brand’s previous activity i.e. supporting women and aspiration
  • Turned a well-worn pejorative on its head.
  • Global message was managed seamlessly across continents.
  • Campaign created an empowering call to action which has potential to become a movement.
  • Campaign harnessed celebrities and social media influencers.
  • Content yielded a very large number of earned media placements (approx 1900)

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

Use insight and research to understand pain-points and concerns for the target audience.

Make sure activity is in keeping with and strengthens any existing brand values or history.

As a potential creative avenue, explore common uses of language around the audience or topic and see if these can be subverted or challenged.

Think about whether a campaign can generate a movement which has life beyond the campaign.

CIPR webinar: What’s new in social media?

What it was:

An online seminar from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, accessed on 27 February 2016

What I learned:

Various insights from the annual OfCom report:

  • 72% of adults have a social profile, including 28% of 65 and over
  • Facebook has highest reach and engagement
  • 16-24s have breadth of social media e.g. instagram, snapchat
  • Twitter often used to air complaints or frustrations
  • Almost a fifth of adults say they are hooked on social media

Other insights

  • Twitter published a “Government and Elections Handbook”
  • Twitter analytics console has updated and is now powerful e.g follower analysis
  • Highest engagement with a tweet does not happen neatly on the hour or on the half hour
  • Facebook video overtaking Youtube video?
  • IFTTT has growing useful recipes e.g. when someone edits a wikipedia page
  • PR stack project looks at e.g. workflows to manage PR processes
  • CIPRSM hack days seem interesting; generate content on the fly

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

  • Ensure anything targeting younger demographic considers e.g. snapchat
  • Remember that older demographic are strong social users, too.
  • Re-examine Twitter analytics and use of Facebook video
  • Consider innovative uses of hacks e.g. to generate learning content on the say of an event
  • Look at what engagement, insight or analytics processes can be automated e.g. through IFTTT

Social Media Beyond Borders

What it was:

Lecture on the international aspects of social media, organised by at Ogilvy PR, Cabot Square. Date: 19 January 2011

What I learned:

Sites like can give simple stats on Facebook usage etc
We use different meanings of “friend” on different sites and in different contexts
Dunbar’s Number (approx 150) – a nominal estimate (perhaps not scientific) how of many friends you can sustain – perhaps has relevance to social networks.
Social Networks are interest-driven; social interaction must add value; narrower interests make tighter networks
Are social networks transnational? It depends who your friends are!
Facebook dominates, but different networks are popular in different countries.
PRs should seek to establish relationships with moderators/editors as you would with journalists.
The Chinese prefer to click not search.
Arguably Flickr is the most truly global social network.
China has  active “human flesh search engine” which sometimes tracks people down.

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

Consider the international dimension when designing social campaigns and when thinking about channel choices.