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Public-i User Group: First reflection

By December 1, 2011No Comments

I thought I’d get something up really quickly about the user group, which has just this minute finished.

You can see the interactive player here where you can see the comments and tweets for the moment and there will be an archived version to come soon (which I’ll announce here tomorrow).

Here’s an interview of Simon Hill, our chairman, sharing his thoughts… May take a while to process…

It was a very stimulating day – with excellent conversations about all the issues. I now have two video interviews (and if I can I’ll get another) that will expound on some of the views shared today.

In the morning we heard from Lewis and Ady of Public-i about the development road map. Several key issues were shared, and a lively debate insued!

  • We are looking at access control – and the issue of a pay gate was mentioned. This brought up a number issues, around the commercialisation of council assets and, in particular, how it might be possible to create a ‘revenue-neutral’ model of webcasting.
  • We are going to look at how we might be able to help councils to develop these ideas further – and I’ll try to keep people informed on this when there are developments.

The next session was from Dr Lewis – who answered technical questions (many questions!). I won’t go into separate issues yet – because it’s right that Lewis does, but this was a really good session – and there were some good suggestions coming from those watching online as well as in the room.

After lunch we had a great two-hour session on the issues of councillors using social media – in particular, how we might encourage counillors to use twitter and other SM in the future as part of the democratic responsibilities.

Some of the key points:-

  • Councillor Tim Cheetham told us that councillors can’t – given average age and other factors – always be well acquainted to social media.
  • We heard, also, that it’s important to give guidance but not expect to be able to train councillors. As Lesley Blue of LB Camden pointed out, we don’t train them to talk!
  • Lesley shared the guidance for councillors using social media. We heard there are several prominent tweeters among the members. The general feeling was it was best to let them get on with it.
  • It’s also important to emphasise why you’d be invovled, as Tim pointed out, rather than the how. Essentially, he said, it’s a sales job.
  • This led on to a discussion about the politicality (if that’s a word) of councillors, who are inevitably political – but as we heard can’t make political comments on publicly funded websites, even though MPs can.
  • Wilma Wilkie from Cambridgeshire County Council, told us (online) that their experiences supported the view that it was difficult to train councillors formally, but informal help was useful.
  • Several people echoed views that we are seeing a shift now in the use of social media – and that there’ll be a tipping point soon! What might be important is to have prepared and dealt with the issues before that tipping point comes.

This has been written very quickly and I know that I’ve left off a few things – so please chip in on the comments if you have anything you feel I should add!!

Thanks to everyone who took part today and there’ll be more to add quite soon, I’m sure.

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