RCM branch voice: virtual reality

By Alice Hammond on 03 September 2018 Midwives Magazine RCM Branches

RCM Powys branch share their experience of engaging with members through Facebook Live meetings to overcome the challenge of geographical distance and the difficulty keeping in touch traditionally.

In an age when we rely heavily on computers and technology, and where social media is taking the lead for lines of communication, we, as branch officials, decided to get creative with how we promoted our meetings and gained the interest of our members. For an RCM branch with little activity over previous years, we really wanted to make an effort to become more active.

The health board employs 39 midwives, as well as our management team, and there are others within the health board that are RCM members too. So, with more than 40 members belonging to the branch and Powys being a vast county spanning over 2000 square miles, attendance due to travelling to meetings and juggling workloads was a massive task.

After hearing about the virtual meetings being held in England, we decided to give it a go ourselves. Our RCM branch AGM was held earlier in the year and we thought it was the perfect opportunity to trial it. The RCM Worthing branch was kind enough to share their experiences with the following top tips:

  • When you’re live, there’s about a 30-second delay between your recording and what your viewers see. So if you ask for responses, there will be that delay to consider.
  • When holding a more formal meeting like an AGM, have whatever device you’re using to go live with (for example, phone/tablet/laptop) set up in front of you at the end of the table, and make sure you have a phone near you ‘watching’ the live feed, so that you can see comments clearer.
  • Only use Facebook Live with your closed RCM group.
  • Always make it as a Facebook event. They will know when to tune in. Share your agenda and put all your big voting parts nearer the beginning so you capture the most people, as you’re viewers will jump in and out.
  • You can publish the live feed to your group after the meeting. When this is posted, make a comment that it was recorded earlier and is not live now, because you could have people watch it later thinking it’s live and try commenting.

We had five members in attendance at our meeting and three more viewed the live stream on Facebook making our overall attendance eight. This was an achievement in itself. However, since then our post has had over 20 views with RCM members commenting as well.

I think it’s safe to say that our first attempt at a live stream of our workplace representative meetings was an experience with hiccups and lessons learnt along the way. But isn’t that what we strive for – reflective learning? There will be more live streams to come and we are planning to use the guidance that the RCM has recently produced. And there are so many ways that we as a branch can use social media to engage with our members, so watch this space.

Alice Hammond is RCM Powys branch secretary.