Makes sense for numerous reasons of course, not least as a means of setting a good example for colleagues. I mean, would you trust a ‘blogging expert’ who didn’t 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 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.
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:
- Andrew Lewin
- Carl Haggerty
- Digital Pioneer
- Mark O’Neill
- Emma Mulqueeny
- Justin Kerr-Stevens
- Dom Campbell
- Hazel Blears
- Steph Gray
- Ideal Government
- Lords of the Blog
- Millbank Systems
- Neil Williams
- Owen Barder
- Paul Canning
- Ingrid Koehler
- Public Strategy
- Simon Dickson
- Andrew Brown
- Steve Dale
- Mick Phythian
- Tom Watson
- Jeremy Gould
Again, if I have missed anyone obvious out, please do let me know.
I’ve been wrestling with how to bring together and publicise the bloggers who have always been around, and those who are springing up following the publication of the guidelines.
So, I have started hacking together http://publicsectorblogs.org/ which takes a bunch of feeds, bungs them into one using Yahoo! Pipes and then republishes them on one page using SimplePie. Sophisticated it ain’t.
There is a combined feed to subscribe to via Feedburner, and an email subscription option too, but I see this more as a tool for people to quickly scan rather than anything else – there’s probably too much of it to begin with.
The bloggers I have used so far aren’t just civil servants, or local government officers, but anyone who works for or in the UK public service, and who write about it now and again. This is an inclusive kind of thing! They are (in no particular order):
- Jeremy Gould – Ministry of Justice
- Steve Dale – Consultant working with Improvement & Development Agency
- Tom Watson MP – Cabinet Office Minister
- Mark O’Neill – Department for Culture, Media & Sport
- Digital Pioneer – anonymous Civil Servant
- Emma Mulqueeny – Consultant working with various Whitehall departments
- Paul Canning – Cambridge City Council
- Simon Dickson – Consultant working with Number 10 and NHS, amongst others
- Andrew Brown – ex-Councillor in Lewisham
- Carl Haggerty – Devon County Council
- Ingrid Koehler – Improvement & Development Agency
- Caspar Aremi – NHS
If anyone has any further suggestions, do let me know in the comments.
I do need to make some improvements to the site, the most important one being to highlight where each post has come from. But this is my first time with SimplePie – and I suspect my use of Pipes complicates matters – and so any offers of help are appreciated!