Case 1: Sustainability - the Ultimate Goal

Sustainability became the goal of every pilot we set up in Aberdeen, Scotland. We knew it was important at the outset of the research phase, but very soon afterwards we realised that we had to keep at the forefront of our minds. We realised it was the most important factor in everything we did:

  • How much time can we afford to spend engaging on the sites we created
  • How much time does it take to train staff to use and administer a site
  • How much time do staff spend discussing their activities
  • How much time do staff spend creating content
  • How efficient a use of resources is it for staff to create and edit video

In Aberdeen we found that staff running pilots were saying things like, 'We need to reduce the amount of time we spend on the site to a minimum, so that it doesn't interfere with our work'. We originally felt this was prioritising sustainability, but it became clear that it was missing the point: we started to see that embedding the activities in the workflow of the organisation was the way to make the pilot sustainable.

In the end we found that staff were able to start using the Ning platform to conduct many of the activities they do with young people: evaluations, discussions, giving opinions, displaying work, recording activities etc. By explaining to staff that they could do the same activities as before but now they could do them on the Ning site, we were able to break down that workload barrier which many staff use to resist social media initiatives.