Notes from a meeting of Martin, Jos, Brian and Noemi (via social media)

We took the key issues raised at the CC a few weeks before and examined solutions.


It is too ruminative…. We need more passion – though we agreed that this cannot be manufactured.

We all agreed that the website and our SM presence is about gaining profile, making an impact, showing ourselves to be radical and thoughtful, allowing debate and challenge.


Overall, we agreed that there are no hard and fast rules. It is all a matter of balance. However, there are a number of concrete things we can do that would limit risk and make issues clearer to readers.

  • If we are tweeting someone else’s quote/sentence, best to put in quotes so that it is clear it is not necessarily the SHA’s opinion.
  • Assume that almost everything can be misunderstood – try and make things as unambiguous as possible
  • We want participation and humour

We shall share tweeting for a while and see whether that feels easier and more productive. Jos, Brian and Martin will all tweet under the SHA logo.

Options for dealing with rapid responses to controversial issues:

  • Put the tweet in the form of a question rather than a statement
  • Seek advice from the Vices. If no response in 24h, use your own judgement.
  • Use many tweeters (though they may all still need advice)
  • Have another person doing most of the social media work.


A number of articles had appeared to be from Martin when they were not. We need to make sure that:

  • it is clear who wrote the article
  • if the SHA has no particular policy on a subject, add – “What do you think?”
  • it is clear if the article is:
    • an SHA product
    • an invited article
    • arrived from the outside

–     invited articles should have an introduction that explains their provenance and the reason for including: “a challenge to our way of thinking – we welcome argument and refutation.”


We pay for spam filtering at £3/month.

Our aim is to have a vibrant website that does not exercise political censorship and accepts articles that challenge conventional ways of thinking in health and socialism. However, we do want well-written articles. We would accept an article by Hunt, but not by the BNP.

Moderating posts

At the moment this is possible but seems unnecessary.

Moderating/editing the content of articles.

Some articles are bad, linguistically and politically. Martin should feel free to ask authors to rewrite. If he is unsure about the content, he should check with the VCs.(or an exec committee if one is set up)

Thematic approach.

We agreed that we would try and decide on themes for the sites that would change every ?3 months and we would solicit articles on that theme. That would not exclude spontaneous offers and articles that were not on that theme.


We agreed on the following protocol:

  • The use of Twitter and other social media sites is a powerful communication tool
  • Social media is a form of publication and this must always be borne in mind by any employee of the SHA
  • Any employee of the SHA who authors tweets or other public media dialogue – including personal use, must be mindful at all times that the words used should not bring the SHA into disrepute
  • The words used within SHA tweets etc must be carefully considered, professional and representative of the ethos of the organisation and of the professions of the membership, rather than personal to the author
  • To make best use of the medium, it is the duty of the SHA postholder to ensure that NHS/health issues which are prominent in the news should be referenced in SHA social media sites – as well as bringing other related issues to the attention of a wider audience.
  • As a Socialist Society the SHA has a responsibility to act as a a critical friend to the Labour Party. Tweets and our SM presence can and often will challenge LP policy but should not bring the Labour Party into disrepute.

One Comment

  1. shibley says:

    1. Twitter is a public forum unless tweets are protected; Facebook accounts can be private or public. Might therefore not be helpful to conflate Twitter and Facebook?

    2. Not clear whether this protocol is applying to only the @SocialsitHealth accounts – or individuals involved with the SHA.

    3. It’s not clear from individual accounts whether they’re members of the SHA anyway? I don’t think the SHA has any right to make this clear in the profiles of Twitter accounts?

    4. I find it helpful for my student Twitter account (@legalaware) which has around 8000 followers, as discussed in our AGM, yesterday, to say that my profile is ‘independent’ – but historically has come from the fact I am the President of the BPP Legal Awareness Society, so don’t want any personal opinions misattributed to BPP Law School.

    I think my general observations yesterday were still valid, though abruptly having been criticised for not having read this protocol. As it happened, I never knew that this protocol had been published, and I am one of the more frequent contributors to this blog.

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