We have recently been doing some work in Wolverhampton with the Local Neighbourhood Partnership (LNP), talking to their neighbourhood wardens about how they can use Twitter to communicate on their patch, the sorts of conversations they could be having and showing them practically how to use it.
As I live in Wolverhampton, sit on the board for my local LNP and use twitter in my neighbourhood with @WV11, one of the examples I used when training them was live tweeting from our meetings.
Bi-monthly in each LNP area Read more
Over the last 2 days the Podnosh team hosted 24 science communicators from across Europe. They were in Birmingham as part of the Open Places project which is looking at bringing together 69 science communication institutions and other stakeholders in European cities to partner with local policy makers to tackle socio-economic issues such as employment; education; climate change and poverty from a scientific perspective.We met with them to discuss social media and the ways in which it can be useful to them in their workplaces or on this and other specific projects.
We looked at different platforms such as blogs, Youtube, Twitter and Facebook. Gave presentations on networking, sharing and listening and had brilliant guest speakers Shane McCraken of Read more
I spent a great day at LocalGovCamp in Birmingham last Saturday, an unconference for anyone interested in how social media and digital technology relates to local authorities and improving public services.
Photo by Glenn Wood
Toby Blume, of Urban Forum and Paul Evans ran a session on data visualisation and visualising policy (more on that in this previous post).
Partway through the discussion, one particular issue really grabbed my attention. There was some frustration from some local authority officers about how difficult it is to actually make a visualisation or to communicate issues visually. It went something like this:
“This stuff is really hard. I want a tool that will let me put my data in and will give me a nice visualisation back.”
After a few responses – useful suggestions such as starting with Google Spreadsheets or Fusion Tables – the frustration with the steep learning curve came out, and Michael Grimes refocused the room with this nugget of sense:
“The process of creation [for a data visualisation] is important. It’s about how we communicate accurately with the information we have.”
And Michael got me thinking… do local authority officers expect making a data visualisation to be a straightforward process? Should it be easier? Are the available tools not serving those new to visualisation?
Or, and this is my thinking, there’s a false expectation that visualising data is easy. The JFDI attitude prevalent in other areas of digital tools for local government may have created false expectations on ease of access to visualisation.
These are my links for August 14th through August 15th: