Posts Tagged ‘media’

Local blogs for neighbourhood managers in Handsworth and Birchfield

Posted on 16th February 2010 by

Screenshot: Be Heard in Birchfield website

Let me introduce you to two new blogs about neighbourhoods in Birmingham, both run by public servants

Hands on Handsworth is written by Tracey Thorne – the neighbourhood manager for Handsworth in Birmingham. Be Heard in Birchfield is being nurtured by Yvonne Wager – the neighbourhood manager for that particular part of the city. (Click here to see Tracey’s explanation of neighbourhood management.)

Both Yvonne and Tracey are in jobs funded by Be Birmingham – the local strategic partnership. They were inspired to start a neighbourhood blog by their colleague Kate Foley who had been running Life in Lozells – a site set up originally to address the problem of all the bad news you find when googling Lozells. Kate explains in more detail in this video made by the Chamberlain Forum.

What do they do?

They talked to us about helping them develop these sites during the social media surgeries we ran in Lozells last year. Both are built on WordPress with some changes to the backend that make it a little easier to blog and listen to what the web is saying about your neighbourhood.

There’s also a simple events system with mapping, and the sites include a facility to easily turn plans into commentable  consultation docs. We also provide a service that ensures the software stays updated, plugins don’t clash etc, plus training and support on using it well.

Tracey is a natural – she really enjoys writing for the site and is on a roll. Yvonne is equally enthusiastic but needs a different sort of support, so it is taking a little longer.

Why bother?

The sites are the neighbourhood managers’ home in a wider web conversation. It’s only fledgling at this stage. The point is that over time they help the neighbourhood managers share information, ask questions, pool expertise and begin to collaborate in new ways with their community.  I’m not convinced they should attempt to become THE site for their neighbourhood.

Such an idea concerns me, because if THE site gets switched off or someone begins using it to be self-serving that’s a problem for the whole neighbourhood. Instead I’m interested in how we can nurture a range of online resources and voices in a place. These blogs form  part of that process – providing a tool that can also help neighbourhood managers link to and encourage the wider conversation.

What do you think?

It will take time and patience for these sites to bed in – but what do you think? Could you encourage them by commenting a post or do you have any advice for Yvonne or Tracey?

Stuff I've seen February 12th through to February 13th

Posted on 13th February 2010 by

These are my links for February 12th through February 13th:

  • Stop selling scarcity « BuzzMachine – If you are selling a scarcity — an inventory — of any nonphysical goods today, stop, turn around, and start selling value — outcomes — instead.
  • WEB: So, what makes a good council website? « The Dan Slee Blog – Great piece from Danslee: "You’re in a rush. You’re going swimming. You’ve three minutes to find out when the nearest leisure centre closes… and you’re face with a council website. This could be a pleasant experience and for many it is. But if you’re unlucky you’ll be faced with a sprawling brick wall behemoth of a website written in a funny language riddled with jargon. Oh, Lord. It’s not gritting information, for example. It’s a winter service plan. Your opinion of your council suddenly plummets and you hurl abuse at the screen.
  • Mark Thomas talks sense about the Digital Economy Bill by Andrew Dubber – "Most people in the world do creative things for no money. The vast majority of music in the world is made for cultural reasons that are not economic. To suggest that the only reason to be creative is with the expectation of payment is utterly offensive."
  • Let’s learn to respect each other « Let’s Respect – "I am trying to make everyone learn to respect each others differences." via @steventuck
  • Misspelled nemesis club » Blog Archive » Hacker Culture and geek groups in Birmingham, West Midlands – Birmingham has a vibrant community of geek/enthusiast groups, of which I’m proud to be a part. That said, it’s sometimes hard to find or even know about all of them, without the right. So collected here are the groups I know of:

Stuff I've seen January 7th through to January 10th

Posted on 10th January 2010 by

These are my links for January 7th through January 10th:

  • Steadicam Smoothee for iphone 3gs – 'The Steadicam Smoothee™ is specifically designed and engineered to work with your Apple® iPhone 3Gs. Based on the same technology as the big $60,000 rigs used in Hollywood, it allows iPhone 3Gs owners to capture incredible video without the shakes normally associated with hand-held video shot on the go, right out of the box, the very first time.' via @edmore
  • Social workers start turning the tide over media coverage – Mad World – "Angered by inaccurate media reports in which Tracy Dawber, the community care worker charged in relation to the Little Ted's Nursery child pornography ring, was identified as a social worker, users of Community Care's CareSpace discussion forum wrote to both the BBC and the Daily Mirror asking them to correct their coverage."
  • Akvo blog » Blog Archive » Akvo Really Simple Reporting (RSR) – "it has become clear that sophisticated project prospecting, project reporting and monitoring tools are needed to be able to effectively scale up implementation efforts to handle many thousands of projects in parallel. Akvo will be developing these tools as Open Source software tools and will also be running an online service which anyone can use, without having to install and maintain these tools on their own servers."
  • A large pile – Viewing a problem – FixMyStreet – Another reason why I love www.fixmystreet.com: "It needs clearing away before it becomes an unofficial tip for the weak minded and indolent."
  • Doing journalism in 2010 is an act of community organizing – Good to see thoughtful journlaistic material making the case that bloggers have made for a while: "Nothing frustrates me more than watching journalists who've lost their newsroom jobs entering the blogosphere… with no clue as to what they should be doing online. Too few emerging online journalists understand that the function of news publishing has changed in the Internet era. Simply reporting the news, however you might define that, is no longer enough, not when you are publishing in such a competitive environment."