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February 25, 2020

Digital services

For most folk, the prospect of unplugging permanently from the internet is pretty much unthinkable. Like it or not, a fast connection has become an integral part of our lives. But evidence tells us that 20% of Scots are not online and for this group, their digital exclusion can only exacerbate other forms of disadvantage that they’re likely to be experiencing. Ever mindful not to assume their tenants are online, our locally run housing associations are nonetheless beginning to recognise the potential of using social media applications more widely in their work. Interesting report just published by GWSF.

Scottish Housing News

A new report has highlighted how community-controlled housing associations (CCHAs) are using a variety of social media platforms to provide a range of information to their tenants and to give tenants more choice in how they communicate with the association.

CCHAs also use social media to connect with one another, with the wider housing and third sectors, local and national politicians, and with partners and funders.

Launching its report ‘CCHAs’ use of social media and other forms of communications’, the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations (GWSF) said that the research, carried out last year, highlighted the range of innovative ways that their members make use of social media and other forms of communication, including tenant portals and phone apps.

GWSF policy and research lead, Colleen Rowan, said: “We know from our survey that 50% of GWSF members are on Facebook and 39% are on Twitter. We also know that some members are using other social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram, and taking inventive approaches to these. For instance, one member has created a series of YouTube videos for tenants on a range of topics, including recruitment of new board members.

“The research also highlights that CCHAs will always seek to use social media to enhance other forms of communication with their tenants, including face-to-face contact, and newsletters, and that social media would never replace these.”

Ms Rowan added that members who took part in the research were open-minded about using more social media in the future, with one participant commenting: “Who knows what other types of social media are around the corner? I think for us it’s about keeping relevant, about giving tenants choice in how they communicate with us…about being seen to be open and transparent.”

GWSF is looking to take forward the two key recommendations in the report: the establishment of a GWSF network group for media and communications staff; and the possibility of organising information sessions for members who don’t currently use social media and are keen to find out more.