Not what ships are for at Helpful Technology – "one of the local authority participants contributed a quote which struck a deep chord: “Ships are ’safe’ in the harbour, but that’s not what ships are for” – great spot from Steph
Amen to that. Here’s to seafaring!
Google – Local Government – This site is your guide to the tools and best practices your council can adopt to reach, communicate and engage with your community.
Conversation with communities – A councillor’s guide to social media – Councillors, as local leaders, will have a key role in these changes if they take that opportunity. Enhancing local democracy through greater transparency and providing both a greater voice and a greater responsibility for citizens in setting priorities and delivering public services means that the nature of a representative democracy may change. But the need for elected officials does not go away and there are tremendous opportunities local leaders to use social media to engage with a wider range of people in a powerful, focused way.
Kebablog » Blog Archive » Surgery anyone? – Steve's experience of the Social Media Surgery in Acocks Green: "2 ladies (bec and mandy? – I may have asked the names, but in the excitement forgot!) came in and asked about setting up a blog, Nick pointed them in my direction and I was happy to help out."
I couldn’t possibly comment: An open, digital Iraq inquiry – "The inquiry should assume that interesting things will be done with the information they publish off their website by independents." A really thorough explanation from Will Perrin about how the UK Government Iraq Enquiry could use the web and meta data in important ways.
On Saturday I popped up to Handsworth for acommunity consultation event.
John Heaven, a council officer, was there live blogging with this wordpress site that he created literally as the event started. John and I also tweeted the event (using different tags – doh) and you can find the streams for the event here and for Handsworth in general here.
If you’re not sure what a hashtag is there is a complicated explication on wikipedia here or put simply its a label than any of us can use on twitter to mark that we are talking about the same subject. When used in a search of twitter the tag then brings together every thing everyone has said about that subject.
It also helps those not in the room watch and join the conversation. So as we twittered about Handsworth from a meeting room in the neighbourhood, observations were added from other parts of the city or country by David Nikkel, Leonardo Morgado, Andy Mabbett, Cyberdoyle and Carrie Bishop.
Carrie even pointed to a new service she has helped create to allow the public to reflect their opinions of police service called MyPolice.org.
So not only has social media been used to creatd a simple and immediate record of the meeting but it has also brought new attention to what is going on and the potential of fresh ideas, input and questioning.
Non of this was planned – John and I just got on with it because we could.
Why was I there? I want to meet some people who could help me set up a very local social media surgery for the area. More on that soon.
A year ago I delivered a presentation at the Local Government Communications annual conference called Naked in a Goldfish Bowl. It was an evangelising rant, a wake up call for an audience that was, to a degree, still getting used to “new media” an unaware of possibilities and implications of social media. I wanted them to understand that whilst they concentrated their efforts on relating to the media they were left “exposed” by the conversations about their work going on on the net.
Last month I was back again and a great deal has changed in that time. As Liz demonstrates with her research, local government has rushed to understand social web tools. So this this time I tried something much more modest. A few examples of what might be working, all on a very modest scale, and a chance for people to talk about them. These were my slides:
So we’ve made it to a full half a dozen surgeries, cracking.Scroll down for a report on Surgery no 5.
If you belong to a Birmingham based community or neighbourhood group or charity please Come and join us for the May 13th 2009 Surgery.
When & Where
Next Surgery: Wednesday, May 13th, 2009 drop in anytime between 5.30pm to 7.00pm at Fazeley Studios, 191 Fazeley Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6DR, link to map. (not BVSC) It’s opposite the bond and a go kart track. Push the large pale blue door with the silver door knob.
So what happened last time? Well, Paul Henderson took the photo above whilst Chris Ivens summed up the point of the surgeries rather neatly:
Q: What is a Social Media Surgery? A: With an abundance of buzz-words at every tick and turn and an almost daily mention of twitter in the news we try to look at what technologies could really help your organisation and we’re here to explain in plain English what they are. It’s not a sales pitch nor are you obliged to do anything after the meet, I guess it’s the old cliché; ‘Giving Something Back’. If you come and find the session useful, please pass on the word so more people can benefit.
As with most of our surgeries, people went away having set up new blogs or picked up tips about how else they can use the social web to help their project, programme, campaign or neighbourhood.
It was a good evening for neighbourhood groups. Ged Hughes of the Acocks Green Neighbourhood Forum came along, her first time at a surgery. She left saying she would love to come again and the following day created a blog for the forum. (Hurrah!). The first post tells us that their AGM is on May 14th, the day after the next social media surgery. It also pointed me to another local group already using social media, the Acocks Green Focus Group.
Other neighbourhood interest came from the East Yardley Neighbourhood Forum who went away with a head crammed full of ideas and established this starting point for conquering the social web world. Also John Heaven was with us looking for help on how to build on what is already being achieved at Lozells.info.