Monthly Archives: April 2011

Goodbye Delicious, hello Pinboard

So following the news that Delicious has been bought from Yahoo!, by the guys who did YouTube, I decided it was time to set myself up somewhere else. It might be that Delicious thrives under its new owners – in which case fine, I can always switch back. But I didn’t want to leave myself exposed, and so I’ve switched to Pinboard.

My account is here, in case it’s of interest.

Pinboard seems to be the geek’s choice of bookmarking service and there have been loads of recommendations for it, largely because it is a no-frills version of what Delicious did well – saving, describing and tagging web links.

It seems fine and I’m currently working out how to get the occasional link posts added here. Hopefully it won’t cause too much bother!

Whither WordPress?

I did wonder whether there was a way of doing all my bookmarking within a tool I already use, though, and WordPress seems to potentially fit the bill – not least because I host it myself and so have total control over my data.

After all, I don’t really use the social features of social bookmarking – and tend to rely on it as a publishing tool.

Here’s what I’d like to have: a WordPress plugin that creates a new content type called bookmarks, that has a bookmarklet to make it easy to save them, with a title, description and tags.

It would let me publish them to the blog either as I save them, bundling them into posts of ten links, or maybe a single weekly post. An option to ping them to Twitter would be nice too, and maybe a dedicated feed of just bookmarks. Oh, and I’d want to be able to import my Delicious or Pinboard bookmarks to, so I’ve just got the one database.

Does something like this exist? Or does anyone fancy making it happen? I’d be eternally grateful…

Bookmarks for April 6th through April 27th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

LocalGovCamp tickets available!

LocalGovCamp is coming back to Birmingham on the 18th June!

200 of the most innovative and creative people in the local government sector will be coming together on a Saturday to talk about making things better – sometimes with technology, sometimes not.

LocalGovCamp is an unconference – basically a conference that’s fun. There’s no agenda until we sort it out on the day – which means no keynoters, no grandstanding and just good conversations.

Grab your ticket on Eventbrite while you can.

We’re also still looking for sponsors, so do get in touch if you’d like to help out.

Communities and ‘hyperactivism’

Excellent analysis and writing from Tessy Britton in reaction to the recent disturbances in Bristol:

This is the real landscape into which the Localism Bill will descend. There seems to have been some dramatic shift recently from ‘government knows best’ to ‘community knows best’. With political and media help, a myth that sanctifies community members or groups choices and decisions and demonises everything that local government thinks and does has become widespread. In this paradigm it is very easy to manipulate situations on the grounds of social justice and easy also to make conflict and aggressive strategies look worthy and spirited. In my view this is romantic and wrong and dangerous.

Go read the whole thing.

The wacky world of webinars

I’ve done a few webinars now with the Learning Pool posse and am planning to do a lot more as both a marketing thing for Kind of Digital and as a part of the training work we do.

Webinars are going to be a really important part of the training and communications mix, as they provide a lot of the benefits of face to face learning without the travel expense and time lost of traditional events. The only thing that really sucks about webinars is the name, but I guess we’re stuck with it.

Here’s some lessons I’ve learned from my experiences of running a webinar.

1. Have a wingman

By this I mean someone sat behind the scenes, not talking but just keeping a watching brief over what’s happening. Someone to ping the odd message out to the chatroom, help manage the questions, and to remind you to do and say stuff.

Presenting a webinar can be a bewildering business and having someone to keep you on track is vital.

2. Have a co-presenter

This came as a bit of a surprise to me, but it turns out people don’t want to sit and listen to me talk at them for an hour down the phone. Madness!

Having somebody else involved can make a real difference to the dynamic of the webinar, especially if it brings multiple perspectives to the session. Also, it means that witty banter is on the cards, which improves things for delegates no end.

3. Practice

Always have a run through an hour or so before the actual performance. It improves flow, points out any obvious problems that might happen and gives everyone a chance to rehearse what they will say.

Never skimp on practice!

4. Keep talking

As I found out when doing  webinar this morning, stuff either goes wrong, or at least goes slowly – especially when you are demonstrating a website or online service. If you’re waiting for something to happen, or if you are having to have multiple goes at getting something to work, don’t go quiet!

Keep chuntering on – not just moaning about how the technology never seems to work, but go over some of the stuff you’ve already said, which will probably be a fairly useful refresher to the attendees. Not saying anything can make attendees think that everything has broken, including the sound, so even if you aren’t exactly setting the world alight with your commentary, keep it coming.

5. Interact

Webinars without audience participation can be pretty dull. Set up a couple of polls to run during the event. One great feature of GoToWebinar, the software both Learning Pool and Kind of Digital use, is that it shows you who is paying attention – ie those who have the webinar window in focus on their desktop.

If someone has flicked to check their emails while you are talking, you know about it, and that’s always a good time to launch a poll! You can also get people to type in questions and comments throughout the webinar which keeps participation up and people concentrating.

6. Follow up

When people register for the webinar, they leave their email address – so use it! Send them a link to a recording of the webinar so they can share it with their colleagues and other resources. You can also get attendees to fill in a quick survey at the end which is another great way of grabbing a bit more information from delegates.

Do you have any tips or experiences to share about webinars? Leave them in the comments!

Micro-participation at ShropCamp

Continuing my current obsession with micro-participation, I ran a session on the subject at yesterday’s excellent ShropCamp.

Basically I chatted through what micro-participation is and what it tries to achieve, where it came from etc. Then I gave some examples of it in action, and after that asked for some ideas and thoughts from the floor.

Here are the slides:

I’m really taken with this idea, as you can probably tell, and am starting up a project space at microparticipation.com to explore it more fully.

We’re going to be developing the site to be a resource in terms of examples and case studies in micro-participation, discussions about the potential and the issues involved, but also try and get people’s ideas for both online and offline micro-participation.

I’d also really like to find a way of making some of those things happen, by finding organisations to work with.

So if you’re interested in taking this forward, do sign up for updates from the new site!

Modern Councillor Webinar, 21 April 2011

With the elections on May 5 just around the corner for both English and Scottish councils, Dave and I’ll will be holding a free webinar to showcase Learning Pool’s relaunched Modern Councillor service. Modern Councillor is the online learning and support destination for councillors, people considering standing for election, or indeed anyone with a passion for local democracy.

The service has been designed with both new and more experienced elected members in mind. A subscription to Modern Councillor provides elected members with full access to a growing course catalogue for a fraction of the cost of classroom based training.

So what’s new and improved with Modern Councillor?

  • Brand new e-learning modules
  • A unique online community where councillors can connect, share and learn
  • Guides and resources on local democracy
  • Blogs and stories sections keeping you informed of the latest democracy developments

What modules are included?

Learning Pool have created Modern Councillor with help from experts in local government. This means all 14 of our e-learning modules, from Introduction to Local Government to Technology and Change, reflect the latest challenges and transformations facing councillors today. See the full list of modules.

Who does the community involve?

Alongside a suite of e-learning modules, Modern Councillor will now include an online community bringing together councillors, prospective councillors, co-opted members, local government officers, activists, and residents so that they can connect, share and learn together.

The webinar takes place on Thursday, April 21, 2011 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM BST.

With increasing budget cuts and the May elections just around the corner this is going to be an extremely popular event so register now for your free place.

Digital engagement workshop, Peterborough, 25th May

Introduction to Digital Engagement Workshop

Wednesday, 25th May, 2011 – The Bull Hotel, Peterborough

We are delighted to announce this workshop introducing local authorities to the opportunity offered by the web and social media to enable effective engagement with citizens and communities.

Facilitated by Kind of Digital’s Director, Dave Briggs, who has a wealth of experience advising government on digital engagement at all levels – from small local authorities to 10 Downing Street – attendees will come away with a full grasp of the background and potential of this work as well as a practical toolkit to get underway.

The agenda, a blended mixture of engaging talks, group discussion and practical exercises, will include the following sessions:

  • How local authorities can use the web and social networks to engage citizens and communities
  • Case studies of good practice use of emerging technology to engage by those involved in local government
  • How to develop a digital engagement strategy for your work
  • Choosing the right tools and approach to meet your objectives
  • Getting around organisational barriers to implementing your plan

Further support

As well as the training on the day, attendees will benefit from post-event support and learning. This includes exclusive access to a follow-up web conference and an online support forum.

Prices

If you book your place before 6th May, you receive the benefit of an early bird discount, so don’t delay!

  • Early bird price – £125 + VAT
  • Standard price – £150 + VAT

Book now!

Find out more details – including a full agenda – and book at www.kindofdigital.com/pboro25may now!

Alternatively, get in touch:

Phone: 020 3286 5186

Email: hello@kindofdigital.com

 

Some Kind of Digital posts

There’s been a few posts put up over on the Kind of Digital blog in the last couple of weeks and so I thought I’d do a quick pointer just in case you aren’t subscribed to that just yet.

What we use

Setting up a new company is fun, and part of the fun is choosing what bits of tech to use – especially if you’re a geek like me. What is interesting now is that starting a business is much easier in a world of web applications and software as a service.

Chief Execs and social media

…we’re redoubling our efforts to put together a programme for aspiring digital leaders. If you’d like to know more, either for yourself or your boss, do let us know. Alternatively, if you have some ideas for how it ought to work or what content should be included, we’d love to hear about that too!

Getting training right

We’ve been having social media conferences and workshops for a few years now, but they tend to have a common problem, which is that it’s always the same people who attend – usually webbies or communicators.