Canton’s social media operation

Patients at Canton SMS

Courtesy of Canton Social Media Surgery

Canton Social Media Surgery is holding its last surgery of the year at Chapter Arts Centre this week, combining the usual drop-in services with a talk from Barrister David Hughes on the legal issues surrounding social media.

The session will be held on Wednesday 7 November, one of three surgeries held this year.

Canton Social Media Surgery at Chapter

Courtesy of Canton Social Media Surgery

These community drop-in sessions as a rule are referred to as ‘surgeries’, and those in need of assistance as ‘patients’. This is at once rather comical and comforting.

The aim of this type of surgery is to invite members of the public to pop in and discuss anything and everything about social media, be it blogging, Twitter, Facebook, or various other online platforms.

Patients (you’ll get used to it) are able to register before attending the sessions in order to secure a slot. However, surgeons (you guessed it) are available for the full two hours in order to help with any impromptu queries.

What’s it like?

The surgery is fairly relaxed affair for people wanting to find out more about social media, says volunteer and surgery manager Juliette Llewellyn. She describes it as a space where people can come and ask basic questions without feeling embarrassed.

“Older people can sometimes feel left out, because they don’t know much about social media. We can offer basic demonstrations on how to use and enjoy blogs, things like that.” she says.

There are a good mix of people at the surgeries, says Juliette, “At the other end of the spectrum, people do come in to ask about social media strategies, thinking in more depth as to how to share their content.”

Patients at Canton SMS

Courtesy of Canton Social Media Surgery

Social Media Surgery as a movement began in Birmingham in 2008, and can now be found in over 60 different locations in the UK. Canton’s social media surgery began its life in the centre of town as part of the Cardiff Social Media Surgeries project, but has since split into regional collectives, with surgeries at Canton, Roath and Adamsdown.

Previous patients at Canton SMS include Canton Greens, who initially registered in order to find out more about Twitter. Current patients include Pontcanna and Canton WI, local ME group MESIG (ME Support in Glamorgan) who wanted to reach out through social media, as well as people who want to look at the different ways of contacting family living abroad.

Who’s giving the advice?

The surgeons are volunteers from the community, and are usually people who have a passion for social media and are active bloggers themselves. More importantly, they are people who are able to convey the many facets of social media in a clear and simple way.

Some surgeons have specific areas of expertise, and Juliette’s job is to team the right person with the right surgeon, in order for the patients to gain the most out of the session.

The surgeons, along with Juliette and her assistant surgery manager Nicky Getgood, are all volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain Canton Social Media Surgery. Their efforts were recognized and celebrated this year by the Prime Minister, who awarded the social media surgery movement the Big Society Award for 2012.

Patients at Canton Social Media Surgery

Courtesy of Canton Social Media Surgery

Canton SMS is a revelation in good will, and shows what enormous potential people can have when they get together and explore new things.  There should be no boundaries when it comes to exploring new technology, and no age restriction on enjoying what social media has to offer. So get those burning questions answered by booking your place now.

Get all the latest news for Canton SMS by following them on twitter @CantonSMS


2 thoughts on “Canton’s social media operation

  1. Great explanation of the surgery and post. You got me (in the stripy jumper) in full swing of explaining something to a very surprised looking lady 🙂 looking forward to tomorrow.

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