Thank you for your interesting letter. I know that training colleagues can be a time consuming and reward-free task sometimes. If it isn’t part of your actual role, you need to be careful not to let it interfere with your real work, of course, but I always find that I learn something new when helping other people get to grips with sticky software problems.
But it is important that people get the training they need; the Staff Development Reviews and Job Chats are meant to make sure that these needs are met. One thing I think we can do to help is find ways to enable people (staff and students) to identify their training needs and take the first steps in acquiring the skills. In some cases it is appropriate that this involves a course, in others it can be self study. I think annual or rarer development reviews probably don’t really do a great job of matching skills to needs, and if we can produce more flexible ways of filling this gap, it would be great!
I’d certainly agree that social media use should be encouraged from the top. And the middle, and, indeed, the “bottom”. Used well, it can help enhance the reputation and image of an organisation, although I don’t believe that this necessarily equates with being overly consistent in approach – at least, not if that is to the point of uniformity! But as with so many things, people need time to engage with this if they are going to use it on behalf of the institution, and that is certainly somewhere where a consistent approach should be encouraged.