And we’re off…21st Century Councillor: Scunthorpe 2010

Entry 1: We’re finally underway in Scunthorpe for our first session of the 2010 tour of Yorkshire & Humber. There are 10 councillors here to share their wisdom, borrow from ours, and together we’re off on a journey; hopefully this is a journey that won’t end at 3pm, where this session does!

Entry 2: There’s been some great debate and discussion this morning on a range of social media tools. The ‘what’ do I want to use it for argument is prominent, naturally being raised by councillors who already feel they don’t have enough time in the day. Equally, a couple of them drawing out the public/private life debate. Some passionate engagement here, genunine interest, genuine fear, genuine seeking of clairty, and definite understanding that there is some distance in this social media game.

Entry 3: The public/private debate never gets boring. All the same arguments coming out about separating one from the other, or not. Also, lots of discussion around when in these online ‘communities’ somebody starts being abusive or horrible? Well, the ‘community’ will sort that out – self-moderation, looking out for one another!

Entry 4: There has been some great discussion this morning, passionate debate on all manner of aspects of what social media is and why we should use it, what the pitfalls might be and what what the opportunities are. We’re going for more hands on stuff this afternoon; setting up a twitter account, setting up a blog, what sort of online blog site you might want to use. It all sounds a bit tradional training, but @StevenTuck is conducting this bit, so the two don’t actually go together, do they!

Entry 5: Twitter set-up discussion has been talked through and bogus account demonstration completed. Now moved on to talking about advertising on twitter and will it get in the way of ‘me, my tweets and my followers’? Hash tags being covered, and tea-bots, cake-bots etc…  @StevenTuck is now awaiting a response from the custard-cream bot, so he can make a point!!

Entry 6: Quick but important point: By responding to, that is engaging with, a ‘tweeter’ posting negative comments about a council, that tweeter soon made a shift and became more positive! Not only does this highlight the positives of engaging with online communities/individuals, but that social interaction is key, twitter and facebook et al are ONLY the tools – social, social, social!

Entry 7: Moved on from Tweeting to Blogging, and the ins and outs, nuts and bolts of it all. Using the prolific @SimonMagus’s blog as an example for starters, then talking around the merits of the different online blogging tools such as WordPress and Blogger and how easy they are to use – and which is easier to use than the other! The subtleties and opportunities around blogging itself are being explored, and how a blog can be used to contribute to developing your online public profile.

Entry 8: Oh, how the conversation has matured throughout the day. There’s was always going to be some tension and feelings of discomfort first off, as attendees searched for some meaning to why they were here. However, by the end of the morning session there was some definite warming of hearts, some real exploration not simply asking what they could do with it, but the how can they get set up and what is best to use for their needs. This is pretty much why the afternoon session here has gathered a more practical focus. Important to stress that this isn’t how we have directed it to happen, this is councillor led. That has been the key to the whole day, councillors exploring what social media means to them, and the all important wider question, what does it mean to their organisation. So, we’ve gone from what, to why, to where and now, how? Excellent councillor led session.

I can see the social for the's over there, look!

About Spencer Wilson
Governance & Democratic Services, Kirklees. Advocate for Digital Democracy #notwestminster #ldbytes. Love my family, books, writing, film, steak.

One Response to And we’re off…21st Century Councillor: Scunthorpe 2010

  1. Pingback: Cllr Simon Cooke talks Social Media « CllrSocMed

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