Launching the DigitalCllr survey

surveyI’ve been doing work with local councillors for some time now – helping them see how they can use the internet to better engage with citizens, and communicate with them too.

This takes the form of running training workshops usually. There’s probably a better way of doing it, but they are probably a bit tricky to procure.

Anyway, I’m interested in finding out where we are up to with digitally savvy elected local representatives, so I have thrown together a quick survey. The main aim to to find out what councillors are doing on the internet, and try and spread the word to their less keen colleagues about how it’s working.

So, if you are a councillor, or you know one, spread the word about the survey. Here’s the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/digitalcllr – I’ll be blogging about the results, so we can all benefit.

What I’ve been reading

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

You can find all my bookmarks on Pinboard.

‘Official’ local gov blogging

Simon writes a nice post celebrating the existence of the new official BIS blog, and provides a handy list of existing Whitehall “formal, properly-designated corporate ‘blogs'”.

Here they are – I’ve also added UKTI’s blog to the list, which I’m sure Simon will do too on his when he gets a moment:

I’m pleased, because as I have written on many occasions, I think blogging is a fantastic way for organisations to tell their stories, unhindered by having to go through third parties, media organisations and that sort of thing.

As Simon makes clear, these are public, official blogs, corporately branded and not the personal blogs of civil servants or politicians, which is a quite different thing. So what makes a blog an official one like this? I’d say some, not necessarily all, of these are factors:

  • Use of corporate departmental or organisational branding
  • Sitting on the official domain of that organisation
  • Linked to (reasonably) prominently on the standard corporate homepage
  • Written by a group of people rather than an individual (or a collection of individuals’ blogs, like in the FCO case)

There probably are others too – please do suggest them in the comments.

I’d like to start looking at which local councils are blogging officially, like the central government examples above. At the bottom of this post, you should find a form to complete if you have any to submit. If you can’t see it, that might be because you are looking at this in an email or your feed reader. Viewing the original post is your best bet.

My next post on this topic will be on how we can get more blogging happening in this way, and perhaps what Kind of Digital can do to help! 😉

The DavePress survey

Hello everyone, welcome back after the easter break!

I’d be really interested to find out more about the people who read this blog, and what they make of it. So, I threw together this little survey. It’s done in Google Docs, and if you can’t access it for some reason but would like to complete it, just drop me an email and I’ll send you a version you should be able to use.

Thanks in advance!

Update: thanks to all who have taken the survey. I’ll publish the results soon.

Better Browsers update

A little while ago I posted about a little survey I had set up using Google Docs, which aimed to find out about what browsers public sector folk are using, and what problems they have been running into as a result, especially where web 2.0 bits are concered.

I’m pleased to say that there have been quite a few responses, and probably would have had were it not for the fact that quite a few government folk are blocked from using Google Docs with their work machines. I don’t know how to get WordPress to do an eye-rolling smilie, but if I did, it would be here.

Indeed this sparked quite a bit of discussion on the UK & Ireland eDemocracy mailing list, with various horror stories being shared. Some of it is quite frightening, including this message sent out by a local authority IT department:

An increasing number of PCs and laptops have been found with internet browser toolbars such as Yahoo or Google installed. These toolbars should never be installed on [our] computers as they are not required for business purposes, can significantly reduce the performance of your machine and can stop the remote distribution of critical software and security updates.

Still, I am compiling all the results as they come in, and will have a think about what to do with it all. If anyone has any ideas, let me know. Almost all of those who have responded would like to be a part of a campaign of some description, which gives further fuel for thought. I’ve started tagging these posts with ‘govgetfirefox’ so if anyone else is writing or bookmarking related stuff, it might be cool to start collecting it together that way.

If you haven’t already taken the survey, please do.

In the meantime, as I started typing this, Google Reader spat this post from Read/WriteWeb at me:

ComputerWorld is reporting that Firefox is set to hit 20% market share next month according to metrics firm Net Applications. In some communities, Firefox is already well beyond the 20% mark. W3Counter’s global web stats, for example, puts Firefox usage at closer to 29% and over 50% of ReadWriteWeb readers use Firefox.

And Firefox isn’t resting on their laurels. The Mozilla Foundation is planning a major release push for Firefox 3, which is expected to drop this month. Firefox is gearing up to set a world download record by encouraging all 175 million users of the browser to upgrade in a single day. They’re actually encouraging users to host download day parties, with nearly 200 planned already even without a firm release date.

I’d really like to know the reasons – the real reasons – why, bearing all this in mind, FireFox isn’t at least available as an alternative to Internet Explorer. FireFox is quicker, more secure, more useful. It’s better. Why can’t we have it?!

Better browsers, please

There has been a conversation going on in the forums of the Public Sector Social Media Community of Practice for little while now about the browsers made available to public sector workers. Most folk seem to be running something like internet explorer 6, but there is evidence that much older technology is being used.

This must be holding people back both in terms of being able to make the most of web 2.0 technology as part of the way we work, as well as using social web tools to better engage and increase participation.

To try and garner some more views on this, I have set up a simple survey using Google Docs to try and assess where we are with things, and to see if it is worth setting up a little campaign to get Firefox onto public sector workstations. We can dream…

If you are a public servant, or spend a significant amount of time using public sector IT, do please complete the survey – it won’t take five minutes, I promise.