Hello from Barnsley Digital Media Centre, from the Cllrsocmed team. We have 12 visiting cllrs today who we hope will inspire and be inspired. Our lead cllrs today will be the familiar @Simonmagus and from Kirklees Council, Cllr David Woodhead. We’ll be under way soon – as it is at the moment, we’re all settling in, getting coffee, and helping ourselves to biscuits. We’ll provide updates throughout the day.
Entry 1: Introductions. Lets see what variations of interest, input, skill and engagement we’re going to get! Bets on a mixed bag? Always! But that’s the beauty of it, and the very reason why cllrs need to lead sessions like these, not officers. We’ll facilitate, they’ll debate and explore. And by the sounds of it, cllrs being represented by Rotherham, Barnsley and Sheffield all seem to have a pretty good handle on it. Hey, where did these two Scrutiny support officers come from, wanting to know about how to better support their councillors – the cheek of it 😉
Entry 2: @StevenTuck giving a great ‘brief history of internet’, and how now we have the capability to publish globally via a blog. You don’t have to be Rupert Murdoch, but more than that, we are talking about the internet as a space for social interaction. So, a place where cllrs can interact with their constituents, then? Well, of course!
Open floor…cllrs asking what are the advantages of some social media tools over others. What can they use them for, what is best for them??
Entry 3: Some discussion around linking your blog to, say,Facebook for instance. How to embed one part of your social media presence into another – linking the tools! So, cllrs having brought that to our attention, they want to possibly know about the more technical side of actually doing it. I see some practical surgery activity coming up in the afternoon! Discussion shifts to RSS and ‘how does that work?’ Cllrs showing interest in the advantages of being able to pull information IN to a site, but importantly, how they can pull their own blog into another of their (or push to someone else’s) on-line space.
Entry 4: What if I say something wrong? Actually, what if someone doesn’t look at my archive of tweets properly, and is selective of what they choose to publicise – misrepresentation of my opinion! Twitter is different from blogging, in that with your blog you can write it and come back to it in the morning – a tweet is instant and out there straight away – says @SimonMagus. Plus, we’re all open to misrepresentation, this is just a different way of people accessing your opinion. We’re free to give our opinion, and equally, like anybody, we are free to change our minds further down the line!
Oh, and blogging and alcohol do not necessarily mix! You have been warned, gently, of course 🙂
Entry 5: Tweeting and Hashtags – they allow for national conference from your phone or office. Cost benefits! Networks! Time saving! They allow for the public to follow what is going on from inside a council meeting, for instance Full Council at Kirklees. Webcasting council meetings can further compliment and enhance the experience of the public, and support more engagement to a more open and transparent democracy – they can see ‘council business’ as it happens, which is actually ‘their business’.
Entry 6: Today’s cllrs wanting to see and know about different tools. It might be the usual suspects in terms of those tools, twitter, flikr, blogs, youtube, but it’s how they are thinking about exploring the possible links between them all that is generating the real value of the conversation. Also, use of twitter being highlighted as how quickly information, photo, research can be pushed out, reviewed, pulled in and interaction with other people.
Entry 7: That’ll be a break for lunch then! Deserved by all. There’s been a heck of a lot of energy used in this session this morning. Phew!
Entry 8: We’re back after a very nice lunch! Asking cllrs how they want to proceed this afternoon; what do they want to cover. Looks like ‘blogging’, actually how to set up a blog, that is. Simplicity is king, for @SimonMagus – nothing to do with ability, it’s about time and convenience – for him then, Blogger.com. BIG Question just popped up: Can cllrs use their council issue laptops for posting to their blog?? Much commotion, no definitive answer.
Entry 9: @StevenTuck going through ‘actual’ process of setting up a blog, to demonstrate how easy it actually is. I’m pretty sure there are some support resources within the CllrSocMed blog (scroll down other entries) which Steve put together. Have a look, cllrs. Talking about tagging blogs, with ward name, street, issue etc, so they can be found!! Cllrs really getting it.
Entry 10: We’ve covered the simplicity of inserting a photo, creating a link to another website, redesigning the look of the blog. It really is easy, you can feel the realisation of it throughout the room. There are some well informed cllrs here, and they know that they have the ability to use and utilise the tools available. The session is really about how we adjust settings and updating blog, and how they can actively promote the blog. So, meta-tagging is key? says one cllr. Learn to, or get into the habit of tagging your posts, and your constituents are more likely to find them!
Entry 11: Today’s session has raised all sorts of interesting discussion. The latest is practical grabbing of RSS feeds, shortening URL’s, what TweetDeck is and how that can work for you. Posting from TweetDeck to both your Twitter stream and Facebook account. It’s been a very different session, challenging in a way that offers up the fact that cllrs are out there that not only want to know about how social media can work for them in theory, but in practice. They want to get out there doing it, if they’re not already, and more so, how they link their online presence to the each of the different tools available to them.
We’ll be back sooner rather than later for our next cllrsocmed session; that will be in Leeds next Thursday, then! Can’t wait. We’ll see you there.