I took part in a live panel discussion on social media in housing today, for the Guardian’s housing network.

It’s a great way to collect a lot of experience-based knowledge rapidly. There were plenty of interesting reflections on how, in organisations, social technologies clash with hierarchical ways of operating; and some challenges to assumptions about the value of being ‘liked’ or ‘followed’.

All of it useful stuff for housing providers, some of which are very adept at communications, some less so, with or without the rhetoric of community engagement.

If there was one disappointment, it was in being unable to get any real discussion going about how residents, not just housing providers, use social media in housing. Perhaps it was the wrong forum; but the lessons of community development, and of all our Networked Neighbourhoods work so far, suggest that the spaces that are set up and run by local people for local people – requiring agencies to come into that space shedding their hierarchical culture – could be the ones that will deliver the lasting social benefits.

I’ll be speaking on this and related themes, alongside Kate Hughes of Wolverhampton Homes, at the Housing technology conference in Birmingham this week.

Kevin Harris