Posts Tagged twitter

voluntary gritters and viral tweets

I keep coming across nice little case studies and not getting round to recording them. So I’d better make a start with this one from today. A simple tweet from the Holme Valley South Lib Dems looking for volunteers to help spread grit in areas to help maintian access to and for vulnerable people in the local area. The image shows how even though the @HolmeValleyLD twitter account only has 40 followers the subsequent ‘retweeting‘ of the original message gave it a potential audience of over 9,000 people.

The chronological order of the tweets is from the bottom to top. Numbers on the right are the number of followers for the person retweeting the message.


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social connections lead to better service

social media

I have been asked about the background picture on my Twitter profile It came about as a result of a social interaction which went on make a small but significant improvement to a local gov website. Here’s what I jotted down at the time.

It has struck me how a social connection (my wife ringing me about the kids) and – it’s got to be said – an impressive display of team work – produced a web page of important, current and relevant information for the benefit of people visiting the Kirklees Council website.

If you like soap operas you may be able to follow this (I don’t so can’t).

Jess has a conversation with Jean and learns that Rochdale Council are closed the following day due to the potential bad weather.

Concerned about child care Jess rings Steve T to find if Kirklees Council are closing too. 

Steve T tells team about Rochdale.

Steve L and Steve T check Rochdale’s web site and discover how well they are covering the current weather situation.

Steve T talks to Steph – who is working on school closures info with Hayley – about expanding the info.

Steve T pulls together all relevant info and creates menu page, amends alert on homepage and creates several mistakes.

Matthew spots mistakes and corrects.

Matthew source controls the changes made by Steve T who was unable to due to technical problems.

Graeme amends and improves menu page created by Steve T.

Result: A better, more informative web site.

Next steps: allowing people to contribute and enhance this kind of information themselves?

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#smc_mcr 3 and john cooper clarke

wallpaper at the northern

Never noticed it before but The Northern actually has John Cooper Clarke wallpaper, how cool is that?

#smc_mcr #3

After missing the train (which was 5 minutes early), I arrived at #smc_mcr with enough time (6.30pm) to secure some refreshments and – armed with a fully charged laptop – settled down for the evening.  After brief introductions and some amusing directions about Twitter tags for each session, I made for Tim Difford‘s session:  Are Social Media tools the key to unlocking truly productive multi-location projects?  Interestingly, I learnt nearly as much from Tim’s laid back, accomodating presentation style about collaboration as I did from the content.  Well, I say presentation but facilitation would be more appropriate as Tim led through a few ideas and encouraged wider group participation.  Tim spoke of the use of Twitter as an aid to agile project management,  allowing instant global communication, increasing effectiveness and collaboration between teams and individuals.  This sparked off a discussion amongst the ‘audience’ about some of the downsides to using Twitter: privacy, data security, service availability etc.   A resolution that businesses need to host such tools on their networks provoked the remark: “When social media tools are adopted by business, they are no longer social.”  While this may be true in a wider sense, I tend to think that the social properties of the tool remain intact due to its nature to provide and expose connections that would not otherwise exist.

#smc_mcr #4

I arrived a few minutes late to Sam Easterby-Smith‘s Mashup Market and stood at the back for 5 minutes.  Unable to hear, I  blundered my way through to a spare seat under the big screen next to Ian Pattinson, writer of the Manchester Evening News cycle blog: On two wheels.  Sam’s point about using data – not just for mashups, but to make it more accessible – led to a general discussion about the reluctance of businesses to make the data easily obtainable.  The reasons for this included culture, lack of awareness, and fact that information is power, and I tweeted:

“orgs not providing information in formats that can be exported for mashups because they want to own and control your web journey”

One of the participants,who needed to mash up information from drug companies for his business, visited drug company websites to find the relevant product information and prices.  Because of a refusal to provide the data in portable formats such as xml rss, all of this information had to be screen scraped .  The discussion about which was the best screen scraping tool to use (Hpricot was mentioned), and a chat with Sam, left me in no doubt that the provision of portable data is as much an issue in the private sector as it is in the public sector.

shock and awe v hearts and minds – twitter and wikis

I have tried 2 methods of introducing new ideas into my workplace with 2 different results.  I started using Twitter as an R&D excersise after being introduced to it by Euan Macintosh at the Socitm conference: Web2.0 what it is and why it Matters. It didn’t take long to build up a good network of social media web contacts who are only too willing to share information, advise and collaborate.  I began to make the team aware of my use of this network by sharing some of the experiences and benefits I was having.  Over the past few months there has been a steady stream of people engaging me in conversations about the nature of Twitter and how it can be used.  Twitter is a funny beast that only reveals its benefits through engagement.  A brief demo, involving the ever willing and helpful folk in my network, together with the excellent commoncraft video was sufficient to get people interested and confident enough to give it a try.  

I am really pleased that 8 people in my team and a couple in other teams are now experimenting with Twitter, some making fantastic contributions. While in the end it may not prove to be the correct tool for us, I am very happy to have influenced some spirit of experimentation and change within the team after my brief failure with the introduction of the wiki.

The wiki was my shock and awe tactic.  When trying to introduce change, arriving at a team meeting, unnanounced, with a) a laptop and b) a wiki is not the way to do it.  I have written about this adventure in a previous blog so will not go into detail here.  I will continue with the wiki in a more subtle way as I did with Twitter as I think it is a useful tool from which the organisation will benefit greatly when properly introduced to the benefits.

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Some research regarding local government’s use of User Generated Content (UGC) has led to some quite remarkable results today. After trawling some local gov web sites I turned to Dave Brigg’s excellent The cool web stuff in local government wiki and started going through some of the sites on there. I became a little bit dissapointed that most local gov sites were only concentrating on one aspect of social media – using new technologies to push their information out. Whilst this is commendable for broadening the access to the information and allowing for the repurposing and mashing up of the information I couldn’t help thinking that allowing the local gov web site users to provide and input their own content was being neglected prompting this post to Twitter:

doing quick review of local gov soc med attempts most seems to be repurposing existing info = good but not much user input in evidence

This was on of those examples where the Twitter network never fails to amaze me. Here are the replies I received:

pezholio @StevenTuck I think people are still a little scared of giving residents too much control. I think it will explode this year though

ShaneMcC @StevenTuck Bristol ePetitions,, Issues Forums in Oxford, – only two of those are GM projects 😉

liz_azyan @StevenTuck Thks Steven. Just wanted to see if I cud help with ur has a forum & UGC directory

shcinternetteam @StevenTuck in that case we allow the public to submit events to our site and community portal

ShaneMcC @StevenTuck offline recruitment is very important to building usage.

liz_azyan @StevenTuck I’ll let you know if I remember or find others… im sure i hv them somewhere in this big pile of papers & notes and audios

alncl @StevenTuck Events are submitted by users: (these then appear on our RSS and Twitter)

shcinternetteam @StevenTuck no probs, hoping to do something simular for news in the coming months as part of a site redesign

alncl Apologies, events link is here:

StevenTuck bookmarking local gov user generated content examples on delicious using tag: localgovugc

ingridk @StevenTuck Cool Steven – I’ll use localgovugc for anything I see as well

pezholio @StevenTuck Come to think of it we do do UGC, we’ve got a sports club finder here Will tag on delicious now

b3rn @StevenTuck localgovugc

liz_azyan @StevenTuck Has Dom told u abt for Barnet Council for localgovugc?

ingridk @steventuck r/t @stephendale Good promo piece about Kent CC use of IDeA CoPs – and local gov UGC

StevenTuck Thanks for all that help & Just realised you’ve also all just strengthened my internal Twitter/online collaboration/social networking case

twitterfeed for this thread

As my last comment says not only did I get a wealth of information which saved me countless hours of research time, trawling through local gov websites but the process served as an excellent example of how SNS can help us all to do our jobs better and more efficiently.

Part way through I decided it would be a good idea to start social bookmarking these sites on delicious. I decided to group them with the tag ‘localgovugc’. I thought it only polite to announce this on Twitter so that others were aware of this resource if they needed access to it. I was very pleased with the response to this when other people started adding others to delicious using the same tag. Ingrid Koehler (IDea) – who also contacted me later in the evening with a link to Instant mash: empowering communities through the web and b3rn in Sydney Australia who has a very interesting blog which I need to check out: Local government, the internet & community engagement online

As well as this I also got 2 direct messages; one via Twitter from Dave Briggs and one via facebook from Kevin Campbell-Wright. Dave has offered to build a website bringing together all local gov websites using UGC and Kevin wants to meet to discuss a collaboration between Kirklees Council and Adult Education sector in researching local gov use of UGC.

A very busy and productive late afternoon which ran on late into the night.

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Thinking about downloading flock – the social networking browser – I first decided to seek the advice from my network of learned social media Twitter chums.

Steven Tuck

StevenTuck has anyone tried flock and what did you think?

Jaki Booth parboo @StevenTuck the wallpaper? Bit dated I’d say

Dave Briggsdavebriggs @StevenTuck it’s ok. find it a bit busy though

MartinSFPMartinSFP @StevenTuck I liked it but it’s useless for RSS feeds if you use more than one machine. Decided to go back to Firefox and use Google Reader

timdiffordtimdifford @StevenTuck Yes Flock’s good but it drives your Twitter api down if you leave it on, rendering you tweetless when out and about.

Phill Healeymunklefish @StevenTuck its flocking awesome! Highly recommend. Im a big flocker!

Steven TuckStevenTuck @munklefish controversial – but still 3 – 1 against 🙂

timdiffordtimdifford @StevenTuck I’m not against flock. I must just remember to close it down before leaving the house. It’s Twitter interface isn’t great though

timdiffordtimdifford @StevenTuck flock – it’s a jack of all trades, as it masters none. A souped up Firefox probably trumps it.

Steven TuckStevenTuck Thanks @timdifford I thought proflockists were rallying then but in the absence of a strong advantage i’ll stick with firefox and feedDemon

Phill Healeymunklefish @StevenTuck its about much more than just twitter though. It lets you blog and facebook etc from one place. Create 1 click site searches.

Phill Healeymunklefish automatically detects rss feeds and so much more.

Phill Healeymunklefish the bloging tool alone is worth it.

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