Archive for research

Winners: C’llr Achievement awards 2011

Blimey this bloke must be good if he beat Barnsley’s Cllr Tim Cheetham – @CllrTim. Well done Cllr Barber – @CllrJamesBarber.

Extract from the LGIU Local democracy blog

Online Councillor of the Year

Winner: Cllr James Barber, London Borough of Southwark

Highly Commended: Cllr Matthew Ellis, Staffordshire County Council

Cllr Barber’s use of online media demonstrates how councillors can engage citizens within their own space in order to make a difference in their communities. He has established a presence on a citizen-run neighbourhood website by engaging and responding positively to local people’s issues, providing information, giving responses from officers and inviting residents to submit their problems and questions to him. Cllr Barber has been cited as a pioneer in this field in research for London Councils; by offering his services in a citizen centred space.

Unlike other nominees in this category, judges really felt that Cllr Barber’s achievements stood out as being different because he has managed to assert himself on existing media that residents of his local area use – he has gone to them rather than expecting them to come to him. The judges noted that ‘if social media is about anything, it is about being where people are’ and this is an excellent example of this.


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festival of light – audition

You’re a fine musician, you’ve got the job. There’s just one or two things I feel I ought to mention.


You will be required to perform rhythmically complex peices of music with no recognisable tonality.

OK I’m happy with that.

The dress may be a little less formal than what you may be used to.

OK, yes, fine.

You will be accompanied by a rock band playing a satanic soundscape through a speakers the size of a small houses…

OK… Yes…

…wearing skeleton suits

Erm right..

Two of whom will also be on a large see-saw playing a bass drum the size of an elephant

A bit unusual but I’m OK with all of that. When’s the first gig?

Next Friday.


Oh! Did I mention that you would be playing whilst suspended from a large mobile several hundred feet above your audience?

Erm… no…

…In the middle of a firework display?

No… erm… could I… erm… perhaps… reconsider…

John Popham’s excellent video footage

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today’s links

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strategic marketing group meeting

A good session at the Strategic Marketing Group meeting this morning. I gave an (all too) brief explanation of what social media is and the ways people are using the web to communicate, collaborate, generate content and form communities of interest.

Using the example of Birmingham’s Big City Plan and how the Birmingham Bloggers have made the information regarding the consultation more accessible by the Birmingham Bloggers I demonstrated how social media can provide the organisation with a real opportunity to engage with communities and collaborate with them to provide better services.

A basic framework for engagement
First we must start to listen. What are people saying about the area or organisation on Social Network Sites (SNS), blogs, discussion forums, delicious, flickr, youtube as we do with traditional media.

The next step is acknowledgement and response where appropriate. Responses should take place on the appropriate platform and not on the organisation’s web site or publications. If a facebook group has been set up in opposition to a council policy or decision we should not expect that community to visit the official website for a response, the response should be made through facebook.

Next we should begin to engage Blogging about large, public projects enables people to be involved in the process and progress of the project and keeps them informed. The comments facility on the blog should be enabled to allow feedback and conversation to develop. When received comments should be responded to. Uploading photographs to blogs or photo sharing web sites such as Flickr and posting presentations on slideshare etc can also be used as a way to engage and inform.

A brief demonstration of how we have used recent public comments on the web site news section to improve our information regarding the recent disruption to bin collections and the importance of responding with a human rather than an organisational voice.

Other concerns that need to be addressed centre mainly around culture change. These include: time and resource to research and develop new ways of working alongside current responsibilities, making public mistakes and dealing with blame culture. I think the biggest challenge we face is the change of culture which, hopefully, we can workout strategies for as we progress.

I would like to see a few more sessions like this to discus the fundamentals of social media and work out between us a practical strategy for experimentation.


Martin Brown Posted: “Thinking up activities for the first meeting of the our internal Social Media group” and got these responses from Twitter (in reverse order)

Links for today

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breakfast in the crypt

Sorry, going a bit mad with this blog tonight. Doing a quick post audit I’ve realised I’ve got nearly as many posts in draft as I’ve published. Decided to just to publish ’em warts ‘n’ all anyway otherwise what’s the point? Also decided to just blast posts out in a stream of consciousness style from now on to save time, so apologies in advance for bad spelling, grammar and BS (I’m no writer me).

Finally got some time to set up a social media group. This is intended to bring together people together who have an an interest in using social media tools. I’m a bit concerned at the amount of web team people in the group but apart from that I think the mix is quite a good balance between between people with a good deal of experience and people looking to research use. I’ve set up a ning sns for the group to collaborate and share info, arrange events, hold discussions etc. The  group has got to be private for now but would benefit from being opened up in the future.

Been using doodle to arrange the first meeting of the group. Though we’ve not yet been able to get everyone together in February, this is proving to be a really useful tool which has saved me hours of busy searches on people’s diaries.  

Met Shane McCracken this morning for a breakfast meeting in the ‘Crypt‘ and I’ve got to report they do a really good full english. Seriously though I spent a good couple of hours talking social media with Shane who’s citizen engagement and e-democracy experience with other local orgs may well prove useful for the potential locality work currently being looked into.

I would like to thank Shane again for all the help and advice besides Civic Surf that he has generously given me to guide our project to assist councillors to develop their own blogs. It comes as a coincidence that on the same day I met Shane that I learnt about our first councillor’s blog which is great news.


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org goes social media

This interview with Helen Milner outlines what happens when a ‘normal’ org goes social media

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web 2.0 and an interactive government and snowcocks

I’m being too lazy and have got too many notes to type up at the moment, 2 of them posts for this blog. So thanks to Liz Azyan for bringing a couple of videos to my attention on Twitter. I’ll just post these and get on with my notes.

I’ve just got to mention Jaki Booth and her exploits last night to find a snow sculpture she had spotted earlier in Birmingham’s Cannon Hill Park. This quickly became the hilarious #snowcockhunt 

It all started with Jaki tweeting about a snow sculpture she had seen in the park earlier in the day. This sparked a whole heap of interest which lead to Jaki and a few friends – torches and cameras in hand – trying to hunt the thing down at 10pm to take photos and post them for all to see. In a way it didn’t matter whether or not they got the pictures because the image of them blundering around the park, giggling in the dark was comedy enough. Though diminished in stature  #snowcockhunt was successful and Jaki posted the photos on t’interweb for all to see. 

web 2.0 and an interactive government

new media: government 2.0

Trolls Would Disrupt Gov’t Attempts at Social Media – Craig Newmark

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