We’re at the seaside today…Scarborough!

Excellent, we’ve made it to Scarborough for the next Councillor Social Media session of the 2010 Yorkshire & Humber Tour. It’s a full house of 15 local councillors, mostly from Scarborough, but also York as well.

Entry 1: We’ve kicked of! Great atmosphere already (maybe the sea-air had something to do with that). @CllrTim and @SimonMagus are the cllrs in the chair, @Gr8governance and @StevenTuck up front and we’ve started with ‘mythbusting’ social media and what all the terms mean…ooh, rapidly moved on to a discussion about blogs and blogging!

(If updates are few and far between, I apologise in advance, not a great connection)

Entry 2: Debating what is acceptable comment for cllrs using social media. Discussion around the YouTube councillor case of using public meeting footage, member of public making twitter joke about ‘blowing up an airport’, through to cllr ‘stoning’ comments’. Ooh, now moved onto referencing @Baskers from a civil servant point of view! Cllrs seeking clarification about what is acceptably said, what not, what they are fearful of or could innocently get caught out on! Hence those previous examples being raised!!

Entry 3: A shift; now the what a blog is, what it can do, what you can do with it, what you can and can’t say, and all those things have been discussed, there’s a clear keen line from room of cllrs of ‘we want to know how to do it’! So, discussion continues and moves to setting up a blog. (Cllr Tim talking about humanising through a blog; more people say hello to you in the corridoor!) Mr Tuck setting up bogus account to show how easy – cllr realisation of this ease filtering through the room! Social Media Surgery time!!

Entry 4: Our blog for today is called ‘In a cupboard in Scarborough’ which we are creating on Blogger.com. It’s a collaborative affair with everybody chipping in! “It’s just like sending an email” says Steven Tuck. The template picked, image inserted, publish! Published…and there it is! “Yes, you can preview it before you make it live”, “Yes, there is an automatice timeline, putting newest post at the top”, “Yes, you can take previous posts off…just press delete!”, “Does it pick up the date automatically? Yes, always”.

Entry 5: Getting into more technical discussion; Councillor asks “can you automatically link your blog, so it updates your facebook account at the same time?” Yes, absolutely. That would be extending your online persona then! Cllrs definitely getting social media. Additionally, marketing you/your blog, getting people to read it, is key. Link your traditional leafletting, for instance, making sure you have your blog address on there. Driving traffic, to your blog!

Entry 6: We’re back after lunch! Everybody wants to move on to Twitter. “It’s a blog”, just a micro-blog, limited to 140 characters. All the social media tools are about communtities and networks. To join in these communities, online or off-line, you need to involve yourself. With twitter, the virtual room is of endless proportions and you can choose who you listen to, who you reply to, and through this interaction your community creates itself around that group of people. Twitter, is an on-going conversation, 24-7, never stops…but you can dip in and out as you wish.

Entry 7: Oh, how frustrating! Just got connection back. Sorry folks. There has been a brilliant debate about Twitter for most of the afternoon, with some interesting Facebook speak too. Yes, some of the conversation has been about the usual ‘What’s best?’, but actually, using the word ‘debate’ is miss-use on my part! This has been about how can I utilise these tools, whatever I choose, to connect with my communitities, to reach my constituents, to find out what the real issues are and what an ‘alternative demographic’ is talking about and interested in. Cllrs from the floor leading the exploration of issues and possibilities. Brilliant stuff, from all. Attending cllrs are just pushing and probing all over the place…they’re right on it!

Entry 8: What support are councillors getting from their organisation, from the leadership, from their officers, web-team, political or staff leaders??? What can they do to be able to get access to social media? Instant frustration emanates from cllrs throughout the room! Significant!!

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

2 Responses to We’re at the seaside today…Scarborough!

  1. Eddie Gouthwaite says:

    Can you ask those Scarborough Councillors if the camp site is open until January 2011 as written on the brochure I want to do some surfing.

  2. Pingback: Cllr Tim Cheetham Talks Cllrsocmed « CllrSocMed

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