UK Parliament Launches Blog

The team behind the UK Parliament‘s website – which also includes accounts on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and others – have launched a WordPress blog. The Purpose of the blog seems to be focusing on the development of the Parliament website, including the development of a number of social web services.

I’m subscribed to the feed, and have added it to Public Sector Bloggers too.

Building networks in Twitter

Neil Williams has a nice post about the way he has built up his network using Twitter:

Twitter, the micro-blogging site to rule them all, has introduced me to more relevant contacts more quickly than any other web 2.0 tool. Or other human being for that matter.

Some people just don’t like Twitter, and that’s fair enough, although I think that much of the time it’s more that they don’t like the way some people use it. One example of terrific use of it, though, comes from local government, of all places.

Quite a few local authorities have Twitter feeds now, as an extra channel of communication between the council and the folk who live in the area. OK, so there are unlikely to be that many Twitter users in each authority’s locality, but as an add-on bit of comms stuff, it’s pretty cool.

However, quite a few of the web teams behind these feeds have set up extra ones, which represent just the webbies themselves. So, not a feed with information about council, but actualy with news of what the web guys are doing and which they use to talk ides through with others. These feeds are seeing a considerable amount of activity and are increasing the interactions between these teams to an extent which I really don’t think happened before.

What’s even better though is the fact that others are being drawn into these conversations as well – it being Twitter, this is no walled garden. So when one local gov web team asks what people think about some of the stuff they are doing, they get responses from not just other local authority folk but also feedback from people like me, who might have a different perspective on things.

It’s a great example of the use that these social networks can bring, as long as you approach them in an open, and collaborative way, of course.

The local gov web team twitter feeds are:

Have I missed any?

Public sector bloggers: the OPML

I have made another quick addition to Public Sector Bloggers, with the availability of an OPML file to download. Rather than subscribe to the combined feed, you can instead import each individual feed into your RSS aggregator in one go.

To do this, first right-click the link and choose whatever your browser offers as a term for downloading the file to your computer. If in doubt, left click the link, then when you are confronted with what looks like a page of code, choose ‘Save Page As’ (or similar) from your browsers’ file menu. Do remember where you saved it!

Next go into your aggregator and choose to import the file to add to your feeds. This will differ depending on which one you use. I’ve found some handy help files online:

If you need any help, yell in the comments, or email me.

Barcamp London 5 : the spillover

Next weekend is a busy one for webheads in London. Not only is it UKYouthOnline (which I am attending) but also Barcamp London 5 is happening. Sadly, that’s all booked up. But never fear! Harry Metcalfe is organising a spillover event for those that couldn’t get themselves on the original Barcamp list.

The wiki states:

BarcampLondon5 is full. Lots of people who wanted to go couldn’t get tickets. We figured: why not have our own, extra, mini-barcamp? The British Computer Society kindly volunteered to host, so it’s on: we’ll have a one-day barcamp on the Saturday (27th).

So, if you want some barcampy action in London that day, you’ve still got a chance. And if Harry has anything to do with it, it’ll probably be better than the ‘proper’ one. Book yourself a spot here.

Public Sector Bloggers Update

I’ve been putting a bit of work in updating the Public Sector Bloggers site, which aggregates a load of feeds from folk in the public sector who blog (duh…) in one place. The website gives a quick overview on the latest additions, or you can subscribe to a combined RSS feed or by email.

One thing I have changed is how the feed is generated. Before, I used Yahoo! Pipes to merge them all, which was a bit of pain in the neck. So I have now gone for a much easier way, which is to organise all the feeds in my Google Reader into a specific folder, and made that folder public, meaning it produces an RSS feed. I then use that feed to drive the site. Now to add a new feed, I just need to subscribe to it myself, and whack it into the right folder. Easy.

When I mentioned it last time, I had quite a few suggestions for additional feeds to add to the service. I’ve added quite a few more, so the list now looks like this:

Again, if I have missed anyone obvious out, please do let me know.

The importance of community management

One of the great arguments in favour of employing social web tools is the fact that they are pretty quick, and usually cheap, to put together. However, that’s not taking into account the other costs, one of which is managing the community created by such sites.

This entails a number of things: welcoming new people, seeding some discussions, encouraging people to get involved. At the bare minimum it should consist of moderating content, getting rid of the rude, the crude and the jibberish. You simply have to allow for time to do this. Otherwise you end up with problems like those that Jamie Oliver, everyone’s favourite fat-tongued foodie, seems to be having.

Does this sort of thing actually present anyone in a good light?!

Meatball Sundae

I’m working my way through my dead tree reading list, and right now I’m burning through Seth Godin‘s Meatball Sundae. It’s terrific stuff.

Here’s one nugget from early on in the book -a list of ‘the foundations of new marketing’. It works for stuff other than marketing, though, I reckon, and might serve as a useful way of describing what worldview 2.0 might be:

  • Direct communication and commerce between producers and consumers
  • Amplification of the voice of the consumer and independent authorities
  • The need for an authentic story as the number of sources increases
  • Extremely short attention spans due to clutter
  • The Long Tail
  • Outsourcing
  • Google and the dicing of everything
  • Infinite channels of communication
  • Direct communication and commerce between consumers and consumers
  • The shifts in scarcity and abundance
  • The triumph of big ideas
  • The shift from ‘how many’ to ‘who’
  • New gatekeepers, no gatekeepers

I wonder how many of these things can be applied to government and the governed, rather than producers and consumers?