Late last week, myself and two of my colleagues attended a great little seminar at Old Trafford about Web 2.0 and Social Networking sites and how they can be used by Councils across the UK. The event was hosted at the Manchester United ground (hurrah for the Red Devils, etc!) and organised and run by the Public Sector Forums and it seemed to go swimmingly.
All in all, it was a great event and quite worthwhile and we came away with a few helpful hints and a few bits and bobs to look at. I think for us, as we’d done a fair bit of research and thinking about the sites and (although we weren’t maybe quick enough on the take up) we didn’t come away with as much as maybe we’d hoped – but it’s not without its great bits.
As a techy, I really enjoyed the Mashups section (Mike Saunt) and came away with a few things that I’m definitely going to have a look at. Specifically, the pointers towards Plings was something that really interested me. I was mightily impressed by the work with the BBC Traffic Feeds as well – jolly fabulous! Until then, I was unaware that you could simply cut and paste an RSS feed into Google Maps and have it display all the items on a list – genius!
The presentation that was (I think, and I apologise if I got this wrong) by Tim Davies, set to the Fatboy Slim track “Right Here, Right Now” was excellent and something that I’ll hopefully be able to get some people to have a look at. The figures were quite dramatic and when you consider that sometimes, you may get resistance to this unknown of Social Media – stats, so excellently arranged, will go a long way to persuading people to embrace these sites.
The section on Facebook (by Dave Briggs) was great and cemented a lot of the decisions we’d made and helped us decide a way forward to finally push it to the users. This flowed well with the section after from Medway Council‘s Simon Wakeman who spoke about their experiences of Social Media and what things they’ve learnt to do and not to do.
Unfortunately, we had to leave and missed the last two sessions – but the rest of the event was a worthwhile and enjoyable experience as far as I’m concerned personally. And hopefully, the way forward for our Council will be positive and worthwhile. An article from Jan 09 by Liz Azyan was re-posted there and it proved interesting. It acted as a leaderboard for the top Council’s and their followers on the main social networking sites – hopefully we can get ourselves out into the public and near the top of any subsequent lists
I was even chuffed to see that Clay Shirky got a quote thrown in there.
Communications tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring
Clay Shirky is an excellent prophet for the evolution of the Internet and for anyone who was even slightly interested in Thursday’s event – I’d recommend very heavily his book “Here Comes Everybody“. In it he brings to earth all the changes that the Internet has forced upon the community, and also compares them with changes that have happened in the past of similar magnitude.
Edit: Forgot to say, added #psfbuzz to the title for the PSFBuzz site which has a Twitter Aggregator on it, set up I think by Dave Briggs.