Home is where the Art is: How to do social media – “Whatever you do with digital media, it is just that – digital media. The important stuff is the conversations it supports. No conversation, no point to digital media” This is from a customer and makes me very proud!
Talk About Local 2010 – What we learnt – Blog – – Much to our surprise, Greener Leith won the ‘Best Specialist Hyperlocal’ award, for which we’re most grateful. We’re still laughing at the plastic umbrella (price tag unremoved), tiny plastic trophy and the camouflage hat that made up the prize
Nick Petrie | One year of Redbrick – The student media scene is a great place for experimentation because the business model is different. It is an environment where risk should be encouraged and entrepreneurship supported. Social media is the buzz topic at the moment, but it is the concepts that surround it that matter; relationships, community engagement and conversations – the interactions that publications have with their audience.
Design for America – Sunlight Labs is pleased to announce our latest contest — “Design for America.” This 10 week long design and data visualization extravaganza is focused on connecting the talents of art and design communities throughout the country to the wealth of government data now available through bulk data access and APIs, and to help nurture the field of information visualization. Our goal is simple and straightforward — to make government data more accessible and comprehensible to the American public.
I’ve just spent the larger part of my day reading about the scrutiny processes of local councils. Of course, this is the sort of thing I do for fun, but there was a serious purpose at hand. As part of my MA in online journalism, but also as part of my work at Podnosh I’ll be looking at how the web can be used to improve scrutiny processes in local government.
How are you going to start?
There’s a lot to do, but I’ve started by trying to answer a simple question for myself: What is scrutiny? That’s what all the reading is about. As someone who worked as the local government correspondent for a pretty decent local newspaper, I should have a fairly strong knowledge of this, but if I’m being honest I don’t. And if I don’t know then I imagine I’m not alone.
Shut up and tell me what scrutiny is Scrutiny – means ‘to search’ and apparently originally meant to ‘sort rubbish’ (hmm… interesting!). In its local government context scrutiny is the business of examining and holding to account the decision-making process. The Local Government Act of 2000, required all councils to make decisions through an executive group of councillors, or cabinet. It also set up an overview and scrutiny process so councillors outside the executive could overview the council’s decisions to ensure they met the requirements of the budget and the council’s policy framework. I learned all that from Wikipedia and the Centre for Public Scrutiny’s Introduction To Scrutiny. Whoppee!
I’m going to be writing about this a lot, so I won’t dawdle, but I already have a few thoughts:
1. Scrutiny’s bloody important, because it goes to the heart of the democratic process. It’s how decision making (what government does) is overseen and checked and everyone should be interested in it, because it’s the crucial bit of democracy: we elect people, they do stuff. We need to know about it.
2. Scrutiny is difficult to understand and it isn’t, well, sexy. Which is weird, given point one.
3. I’ve singularly failed to answer how it can be made better. But it strikes me it might be a bit early for that!
Electra Soudy and Indu Daji have been nominated for the Community Group Local Hearts Award for the work they have done with BETI, which they set up 10 years ago to empower women and give them training and support.
Indu focuses on muslim and hindu women and Electra with single women and voluntary groups – helping those coming to Britain who may be abused by their relatives and in-laws, assisting their learning of English and giving them the advice and guidance they need to get on the job ladder.
The group aim to liberate women in Birmingham who suffer under their families, feel estranged, or are being forced into arranged marriages. Both women have a background which has led them to this work – Electra ran away from her Greek home because her father was setting up an arranged marriage, and Indu also suffered when she moved to the city, but was given confidence by Electra.
The two women also inspire and motivate each other, and are well-known in the community as people other women can come to for help, shelter and advice. Here’s their story.
Here are some o the things I\’ve been reading August 10th from 16:48 to 19:57:
In Defence of TheYamYam – Jonathan Walker – The Yam Yam on Jon Walker’s blog sets out to defend what I think is at best a very odd basis for a site: posting scans of local newspaper articles. Perhaps it’s a response to inadequate tagging from newspapers.
Empowering Citizen’s in the Information Age | John’s Idea – John Hayes of the IDeA says local authorities should respond to newly web empowered citizens by:
“1. counting what counts: collecting high-quality data in the first place, and combining performance data with information on wider social outcomes so that citizens have reliable and balanced information at their fingertips
2. opening up information for use: making information (including performance and financial information) available so that citizens can compare services and make informed decisions, drive improvements in services, and hold government to account from the bottom up
3. opening up information for re-use: making information and data available so that it can be easily re-used by citizens – mobilising a wealth of expertise to facilitate innovative use of data by citizens
4. harnessing the power of networks: using interactive technologies, such as web 2.0, to break government monopolies on information creation and open up dialogue between and among citizens and professionals.”