LGCYH – For Those About To Blog (We Salute You)

We had a great session about blogging. We were able to get Cllr Cheetham’s blog and Cllr Cooke’s blog up on the screen and bring the session to life.

Having the authors in the room meant we were able to go talk about content, complexity and time commitment with reference to real life examples.  Cllr Cheetham showed how to update his blog from his phone (“it’s that easy”) whilst Cllr Cooke demonstrated that “content is king”by reference to his Great Pudding Disaster.

Cllr Cooke’s puddings sparked a good debate about content and public interest.   Both councillors approach blogging from a similar personal (if not political) perspective.  It’s not just about council business and ward work.  Its also about the person, their interests and challenges.  Both agreed that blogging performs a political education for residents but also allows councillors to “be people”.

Discussion moved onto the tensions that can exist between blogging councillors and their councils.  A challenge now, and for the future, seems to be councillors being free and unfettered to communicate their views directly whilst serving on their councils.

The problems that councillors face with council corporate communications proved to be a hot topic.  Blogging councillors can find the the notion of “my blog, my say” sometimes bumps up against the organisation’s determination to “manage the message”. We didn’t have any answers to this challenge but concluded that residents want dialogue and engagement and could see through the “corporate spin”.  File under “To be continued”.

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