Tag Archives: blogs

Why start a blog?

There are a number of reasons why you might want to start blogging:

  • You have ideas you want to share
  • You have a story to tell
  • You have knowledge you want to demonstrate
  • You want to progress your career
  • You want the great work your organisation does to get recognition

All of these are great reasons. But basically it comes down to wanting to do whatever it is that you do better.

Because if you start a blog, after a little while, that will be the result – no matter what your original motivation.

One reason a great blogger will never give you is “because my boss told me to”. Good bloggers do it because they want to, because it works for them, and not because it serves their employer’s purposes.

Every government project should be a Project WIP

I love Project WIP – Shropshire Council’s blog about their efforts to redesign their website.

It’s got a great tone and style, is useful and interactive and gives people a chance to know what is going on behind the scenes, and to get involved too.

It’s also really helpful – take their latest post about responsive design and DPI as an example.

Camden Council did something similar with their web rebuild too.

Why just website projects though? Why aren’t all government projects reported on in the open, via a blog?

It would increase transparency, allow for interested folk to contribute from the outside and open up the teams involved to all kinds of goodwill.

Bookmarks for October 3rd through October 19th

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.

Bookmarks for April 11th through April 16th

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

  • A New Approach to Printing – “a service that enables any application (web, desktop, or mobile) on any device to print to any printer.”
  • Governments and Citizens: You Don’t Own Your Tweets – This is a really interesting piece on ownership of online content.
  • Beauty is the new must-have feature – “I’m predicting that we’ll start to have a non-functional requirement around making beautiful experiences when we build systems, and that we’ll be rubbish at it when it happens.”
  • Follow Finder by Google – “Follow Finder analyzes public social graph information (following and follower lists) on Twitter to find people you might want to follow.”
  • Enterprise 2.0 and improved business performance – “Despite growing evidence, which I’ve presented here and elsewhere, there still remains for many people a real question about the overall ability of social software to improve how organizations get things done.”
  • calibre – E-book management – Really handy (for a Kindle owner, anyway) open source, cross platform ebook conversion tool.
  • Why does government struggle with innovation? – “If innovation is becoming a core attribute required by government organisations, merely to keep up with the rate of change in society and the development of new ways to deliver services and fulfil public needs, perhaps we need to rewrite some of the rulebook, sacrificing part of our desire for stability in return for greater change.”
  • The Biggest Obstacle to Innovation – “There are many candidates for the biggest obstacle to innovation. You could try lack of management support, no employee initiative, not enough good ideas, too many good ideas but no follow-through just for starters. My nominee for The Biggest Obstacle to Innovation is: Inertia”
  • Lichfield District Council – Open Election Data Project Case Study – “An early adopter Lichfield District Council has been actively sharing a range of local data for some time. In March 2010 the Council was the first authority to make its local election results openly available as part of the Open Election Data Project.”
  • Google Docs Gets More Realtime; Adds Google Drawings To The Mix – Me likey!
  • YouTube – SearchStories’s Channel – Make your own Google search story video – like in the Superbowl ad. Cute.

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.

Bookmarks for March 21st through March 29th

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.

Bookmarks for March 13th through March 15th

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.

Easy blogging

Two services which aren’t very new, but which I only started using recently, are Tumblr and Posterous. They are basically blogging platforms, but in a different way to, say, WordPress, Blogger or TypePad.

It’s all about how you post to these services.

Posterous, for example, is almost entirely email based. You create your account on the service by sending it an email, and that’s by far the easiest way of posting to it – thought there is a web based interface if you really want one.

It’s brilliant at handling multimedia, especially photos and videos – just attaching one to your email will see it hosted at Posterous and embedded in your blogpost. Including YouTube URLs will embed the video into your post as well – it’s very easy. It’s also very impressive the way Posterous interacts with other social networks, cross posting nicely to Facebook and Twitter, and sending photos to Flickr too.

I use my Posterous as a personal blog, but one to which I post almost exclusively by email, from my iPhone.

Some of the other blogs that use Posterous that I read include:

Tumblr is a blogging system that is probably best described as an online scrapbook. Again, you could use it as a normal text based blog, but Tumblr really comes into its own by acting as a clipping service – you see a link, or a photo, or a video that you like online, and you post it to your Tumblog, perhaps with a bit of commentary added.

I’m using mine to clip videos I find interesting, or will want to save for later viewing. I never bookmark videos in Delicious for some reason, and this will make up for that!

Some other great Tumlr based blogs I follow include:

The key thing about both these services is the easy of use, and the way they speed up posting. I’ve never really kept a personal blog, but by being able to make quick, short posts on my phone, finding the time is a lot easier.

Perhaps if you are finding Twitter’s character limit a bit, well, limiting, but full blown blogging seems a little bit daunting, maybe Posterous or Tumblr can fill that gap for you!

The state of the UK gov blogosphere

(This is one of those posts I really seriously considered not posting, because I’m not sure whether I am talking bollocks here or not. Please leave comments, letting me know one way or the other.)

Here’s an assumption of mine which is pretty important to this post: that people blogging is important, and a Good Thing. There are a number of reasons I think this way – mainly that blogging is a great way to develop and share ideas, to create a movement, to develop a reputation. A healthy and active blogging community in a sector means that it’s a sector where there is a lot of creativity. It means that sector is an interesting place to be.

I don’t think the public sector blogging space in this country is anywhere near as developed as it should be. There are too few voices, and often one gets the impression that these bloggers struggle somewhat under the pressure that is created by the fact that too few others are joining in. This isn’t anyone’s fault, of course, and there are a number of reason why blogging amongst public servants hasn’t particularly taken off:

  • Lack of time
  • Lack of backing from up high
  • Lack of stuff to write about

…and no doubt plenty of others.

Let’s look at who there is at the moment, blogging regularly about government in a useful way:

There may be a couple of others that I have missed. There’s also a bunch of people outside government – but with, let’s say, an interest – who blog, like Simon, Dom, Nick, William, Jeremy, Shane, and me to name a few.

Public sector blogs does a nice job of aggregating this activity.

Obviously people write blogs about what they want to write about, and no one should be mandated to blog, or to write about certain topics. But I’ve been really getting into some of the tech analyst blogs recently, many of which focus on issues that are of great relevance to people working in public service: how to we go about getting adoption of ‘2.0’ ways of working within large, enterprise scale, organisations?

Check out some of these examples:

I love these blogs – full of insight, research, evidence, opinion, news, challenge and views. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a community of bloggers doing just this sort of thing for UK government?

I think we need a strong, vibrant blogging community in and around government providing some real analysis of what is happening, and some real thought-leadership in terms of what should be happening.

This should be tied to a conversation that I have been hinting at recently around not talking about social media as an end in itself so much as how we get news ways of working adopted in government, tied into technology enabled change around software as a service, cloud computing, collaborative technology and so on. Who’s blogging about what the vendors are offering government and whether it’s any good or not?

Are we that far away from this now? Does anyone actually need it? Am I way off the mark here?

I’m planning on convening a ‘State of the UK gov blogosphere’ session at the UKGovCamp in January where we can talk about some of this, and maybe do some planning around how we can get more blogging going in a more sustainable way within and around public services.