Announcing a regular #dpulo discussion on Twitter

A couple of weeks ago, I mooted the idea of a regular #dpulo discussion on Twitter, following the excellent example set by #nhssm amongst others.

Since then, lots of people kindly shared their views about such a discussion via a survey and on Twitter, and all agreed it would be a good idea.

As such, I’ll be launching a regular #dpulo discussion on Twitter next week. Discussions will be for people who work in DPULOs, are interested in the work they do or are in a position to commission DPULOs. This is partly in support of the Strengthening DPULOs Programme of which I’m a part (info on which is here, here and here.)

The purpose of such a discussion will be as follows:

  • To enable people associated with DPULOs to share the issues they’re facing and solutions they or others have come across
  • To enable people to share ideas / information / publications / resources they’ve come across with each other
  • To provide a level of peer support and networking for people who work in disabled people’s user-led organisations.

Each week will see a specific topic discussed. Ideas for topics from people who responded to the survey included

  • The definition of a DPULO
  • Ensuring DPULOs work for all impairment groups (including those who don’t identify as disabled people)
  • Social care
  • Hate crime
  • Access to Work / employment issues
  • Contributing to health, and HealthWatch in particular
  • Accessing legal support for disabled people acting as employers
  • Funding
  • Growing an organisation from small to commissionable
  • Why/how to work towards partnership working with local Health Authorities to enable more choice and control for Disabled People
  • Topics that are clearly linked to Twitter to build participation, including use of socmed for DPULOs, specific weeks on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, QR Codes etc.

There are obviously loads of others we could cover, too – please feel free to add suggestions for topics in the comments below.

In terms of the practicalities of such a discussion, the consensus was that the discussion should be weekly, on a Tuesday and in the evening.

Thus (and because of existing diary commitments), the first discussion will take place at 8pm on Tuesday 29 November.

I’ll send out reminders etc. ahead of the day, and will do a blogpost both before and after to capture the learning / resources etc.

In the meantime, thanks to everyone for your interest so far – can’t wait for it to start!


The online presence of DPULOs – anecdotal findings (updated)

I’ve spent much of the last couple of days mapping what disabled people’s user-led organisations there are. This work is part of the Strengthening DPULOs Programme that I’m involved with, and draws upon other mapping exercises that have happened previously.

(It goes without saying that mapping and gapping is an art in itself, which people often pay very good money for others to do. Still, at this stage of the work I’m involved with, a relatively rough and ready mapping exercise – building on much more extensive work that others have done – will suffice.)

As part of the mapping, I’ve been finding out what kind of presence DPULOs have online. The results – as unscientific and anecdotal as they are – make for interesting reading.

To summarise:

  • The vast majority of DPULOs have a website
  • The websites themselves are very mixed: some are incredibly good, some are standard, a small few are quite poor
  • Associated with this, some have clearly had professional design and input
  • Others – though only a handful – are using slightly customized, off-the-shelf products like WordPress, Movable Type and Squarespace to run their online presence
  • In terms of social media, many more than I expected have a Facebook presence – approaching around a third of all DPULOs I’ve identified so far
  • Each has around 50-100 “likes” for their Facebook page, which I’m guessing is around the average for voluntary and community sector organisations
  • Relatively few DPULOs are on Twitter. I have compiled a fairly comprehensive list of those that are on Twitter here
  • There is a spattering of organisations using channels such as Flickr, YouTube, Audioboo, LinkedIn etc.

I’m working on the basis that this position is not dissimilar to any other subsection of the voluntary and community sector. If it is dissimilar, then I’d be keen to know the reasons why, as this would suggest a stream of work that could be particularly useful for DPULOs.

In the meantime, there are 4 (superficial) implications that occur to me as a result of this:

  1. A relatively low cost and low barrier means by which DPULOs can establish a local presence is not currently being fully explored to its potential
  2. Facebook is a popular tool that DPULOs are beginning to recognise is of value to their offer
  3. Twitter is less popular with disabled people’s organisations. Where individuals have used it to a great extent, the same can’t be said of organisations that are controlled by and for disabled people
  4. There is a business opportunity for someone to develop the websites (based on off-the-shelf products) and social media offering of DPULOs through a relatively low-cost offer. The added value of such of an offer would be significant, since the use of websites and social media are under-utilised by the DPULO “sector” as a whole.

Would be really interested to know if people have any other reflections on this, and importantly any ideas or stuff they know is already happening that can help address some of these points.

Update: this article from the Chief Executive of the Media Trust is pertinent to this post:

In a world in which local voices can have global reach, charities and NGOs have urgent and exciting new opportunities to give voice to their causes, to empower communities and citizens, and to be responsive to their needs and aspirations. Digital media has the power to enable charities and communities to become more integrated and cohesive – but finding the skills, strategies and resources can throw up some huge challenges to small and large organisations, many of which are juggling complex bottom lines around service delivery, campaigning and income generation.

Social media trainer required – ££ available

I’m involved in the Strengthening DPULOs Programme, which aims to build the strength and sustainability of disabled people’s user-led organisations (DPULOs). More information about the programme is available here.

Part of the programme involves 12 Ambassadors who represent the programme at a local level, as well as others in the overall delivery of the programme.

Social media – as you would hope – is playing a key part in the programme and how we engage with our various stakeholders, particularly including DPULOs themselves.

I’m keen to ensure that all Ambassadors and people involved in the delivery of the programme are starting from the same place and level when it comes to social media.

To do this, I want to bring someone in who can deliver a half-day social media session, which is where you hopefully come in!

Thus, I’m looking for someone who:

  • Knows their way around social media
  • Has experience of delivering short sessions (half a day) on the practicalities of using social media to a range of people with different levels of experience
  • Has a good understanding of disability issues, including accessibility
  • Has a good understanding of the voluntary and community sector
  • Is available to deliver this training on 1 December in London

I have up to £200 available for the half-day (this figure includes any development time), plus travel expenses.

If you’re interested, please @ / DM me (I’m @rich_w) or leave a comment below by Wednesday 2 November. I’ll be looking for a very brief (less than one side) note on how you hit the bullet points above, plus a current CV, from which the trainer will be selected.

After that, we’ll then nail down the full details over the first couple of weeks in November.

If you have any questions, please get in touch. Similarly, if you know someone who may be interested, please pass this on.