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Five things and four videos from #commscamp13

By February 27, 2013One Comment

It was great to spend Tuesday this week at CommsCamp 2013, the event for public sector communications folk organised by Ann Kempster, Darren Caveney and Dan Slee.

Last week – at about this sort of time on a Friday, actually – I noted down a few thoughts on what I’d like to talk about when I was at the event. I said I’d follow up with a few more things that really got me thinking. I’ve decided to do two versions of this, one for the company (here) and one that I’ll post on my own blog when I get time – probably at the weekend.

Thanks and cheers

Anyway, the best way to start all this is to just say thanks. Thanks to Ann, Daniel and Darren. The trio who brought us CommsCamp worked tirelessly to do so. It was an amazing event and they deserve huge praise, and probably a very good rest. Perhaps – as Dan says in the short video interview I did with him below – the best thanks would be for other people to go off and start their own unconferences. What’s next then? Maybe one for folk who want to talk about engagement? It was a big subject at the event and would attract people from different disciplines? Maybe?

Have a look at the video anyway…

How do we deal with folk who are shy?/Why don’t more women pitch?

I’m not the best public speaker. It’s a problem – not one I should go on about here – but it was really good that thanks to a couple of things that happened the fact that not everyone has the confidence to pitch ideas became an issue at CommsCamp. First, we had Lorna Prescott holding a session that asked why women weren’t pitching as much as men – and then Catherine Howe made a point of trying to encourage the less vociferous among us to say stuff in her session on ‘why comms are seen as blockers’. Listen to my interview with Lorna.

Time for a bit more scrutiny of how and why we use Twitter?

I didn’t get to the session about metrics and measurement, but I did make it to Dave Musson’s one on whether Twitter is pointless for comms teams. As Dave explains, he was using a deliberately provocative title – and it worked, plenty of folk turned up for a very stimulating discussion on how we might better make use of twitter. My own thoughts: it’s really about people, rather than services or organsations using it. And, yes, I know there’s an irony. I tweet for Public-i!

Watch the video below.

It’s time to make data part of the conversation, right?

Opening data is a big deal for local authorities and I was really pleased that Sarah Hartley of the amazing Talk About Local was on hand to press home this very important issue. In the session, it seemed to me the most prescient point about all of this was that it’s important we build a dialogue and a narrative around the release of data. There are lots of people who can benefit from open data, but it’s only through having a conversation about it that we can get a bit closer to understanding who they are and how they can benefit.

Guess what? Here’s a video about it:-

And another thing…

So the last thing doesn’t include a video, I’m afraid. That’s because it would involve video-interviewing my boss, Catherine, who ran the session ‘are Comms the blockers?’ (Basically, I think she’s a bit fed up with me trying to do that.) It was pretty brave of Catherine, a non-Comms person, to turn up and pitch a session with such a provocative name, but what ensued was some very good, rather deep thinking about what blocking is, why it might not always be comms fault and how this issue can help us to think about communications in a very, very different way in the future. Catherine will be blogging on this soon, but I’ll leave you with one thought, from the brilliant Eddie Coates-Madden. He made the point that it might be time for communications teams to consider taking a different role in the issue of risk: rather than trying to take responsibility for stopping damage to reputation, it would be better to concentrate on reputation recovery. I liked this idea a lot, because we all agreed it shouldn’t be somms teams that are responsible for dealing with those communicating (badly) around the organisation. But I’ll let Catherine talk about this more!

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