Dementia is one high-profile policy area where this has been put into practice. Social media has helped the department take engagement beyond “the ‘usual suspects’ who sit on expert groups,” according to Anna Hepburn, digital lead for the dementia campaign, to reach “people with day-to-day experience of living, caring or working with dementia.” Engaging with networks such as the #dementiachallengers hashtag group helped ensure that the voices of those living with dementia were centre-stage at the UK-hosted G8 dementia summit that took place in December. Planned, in Hepburn’s words, as “a truly digital summit … open to anyone with internet access,” the event was livestreamed to a global audience on the department’s Dementia Challenge website, which also hosted a live blog, a Flickr stream, highlights from the tweet stream surrounding the event and several moving videos by people with dementia and their carers.

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