Using social media for LGBT organising and campaigning

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2012 National LGBT Conference
26 July 2012

Conference welcomes UNISON’s increased use of social media as an additional tool to reach its members. Nationally UNISON has an active presence on facebook, twitter and pinterest and many regions and branches also run their own accounts on social media sites. Conference believes that effective communication is fundamental to ensuring that the right information reaches our members and the use of social media can assist with this.

Conference notes how well attended the ‘Using Social Media’ sessions were at the 2012 national delegate conference. Social media when used well can be a great recruiting and organising tool which can also be used to engage the wider public in our campaigns. It is a useful, quick and low-cost addition to our communication tools.

The National lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Committee has been actively using LGBT facebook pages and piloted the use of a twitter account. Their use has increased the spread of information about the LGBT network days, specific LGBT events and LGBT campaigns. We need to continue using these tools and embrace new emerging channels to communicate with our members. It is important to recognise that using social media does not replace more traditional forms of communication, especially face to face, but should be used side by side for information, recruitment, training, development and organising.

Conference further believes that using social media can allow UNISON to more effectively engage with members and sections of the community that it may otherwise have difficulty interacting with, such as young members. It can also be used within regions to successfully reach self organised group (SOG) and caucus members who are dispersed throughout large geographic areas.

Conference calls on the national LGBT committee to work with UNISON’s national organising unit, communications department and our regional LGBT self organised groups and caucuses to:

1) Advertise and promote to regional and branch LGBT SOGs UNISON’s top tips on using facebook and twitter;

2) Highlight advice on the risks of using social media and workplace discipline available on UNISON’s website;

3) Utilise UNISON’s guidance “Using social media in campaigning”;

4) Promote new ways of communicating, recognising that communication to members must be based upon the formats which they prefer to use.

Critically, the National LGBT Committee should also work with UNISON communications so that the importance of safety and confidentiality for LGBT members is reflected in UNISON advice and training on the use of social media.