Turning events inside out

Shane McCracken was sufficiently interested in the social reporting that David Wilcox and I undertook at the DC10plus event early last month that he started to develop a business model around it, dubbing it ConferenceXtra.

The concept is that it’s all well and good for public sector organisations to put on events to disseminate information, or share good practice, but the reach is only ever going to be as far as those that attend. By using the social web, events can be turned inside out, so those that can’t attend still get to find out what went on and an even contribute to what’s happening.

evoiceThis idea was put to the test a couple of weeks ago in Norwich, as Shane explains. The event was the evoice international political forum on eDemocracy, hosted by Norfolk County Council. Now, evoice are not necessarily a group that too many people are aware of, which makes putting their work up online all the more important, so that people can learn and share experience.

I was delighted to be involved in getting a whole host of audio and video online, as well as presentations through SlideShare and photos on Flickr. There’s a real mixture of content, especially video, with formal recordings of the presentations mixed with short vox pop interviews with attendees, very much in the social reporter style.

The site that we put together is hosted at ConferenceXtra, using WordPress (of course!). The great thing with the blog format is of course that is has interactivity built in, and it was great to see some comments being made, and conversations held, on the site soon after it went live. Hopefully the site will become a place where all those involved in the evoice project can convene in the future.

One fantastic project that was highlighted was that of Bus Stop 39, an online youth engagement initiative by Norfolk County Council and partners, which aims “to give young people an insight into their local council and its services, as well as offering the opportunity to be part of one of the UK’s first online teen soaps, enabling them to make informed choices when the chance to vote in local elections arises”.

Here’s one video where Tom Hodgkinson introduces the project in detail:


Check out the Bus Stop 39 page at the ConferenceXtra site for another clip where young people talk with great passion about the initiative. I, and others, have said it loads of times before, but this stuff works, folks.