Loss, love and bison

Week 6 of Weekly Blog Club had a remarkable 15 contributions this week. This was remarkable because one regular was too ill to write one, many of the other regulars were dashing around the country attending unconferences and other events, and bad weather distracted most of the UK.

Several Weekly Blog Club bloggers attended the LocalGovCamp North West held at Preston on Saturday 4th February, and 1 or 2 of us followed some of it on live video then audio feeds. The Twitter Gritter was a topic that day, and Dan Slee picked up on it again for his Week 6 post. He pointed out that sometimes public sector people can deliver much better and cheaper services than any outside contractor (something I was arguing in heritage 20 years ago).

Mark Braggins got so much out of LocalGovCamp NW that he is spreading it over more than one post, and the first one just covers the journey and his first impressions of Preston and the unconference’s venue. I am sure that I am not the only one looking forward to his account of the sessions. Mark produces very readable and and enjoyable, as well as useful, reports of these events.

The third one to be inspired directly by LocalGovCamp NW was Peter Olding who picked up on the idea of local authorities using Flickr and went on to explain why he did not think using Creative Commons licences was the best idea. It will be interesting to see any responses to his post in Week 7.

Sadly, a couple of our writers have lost people recently about whom they cared.  Phil Jewitt and  Carolyne Mitchell took different approaches but both wrote movingly and beautifully about their losses. Both their posts are well worth reading.

Graham Budd tackled the rather awkward issue of publicly thanking a local authority for a specific piece of work in his neighbourhood when he also happens to be an employee of that council.

There were several posts that had very work-focused themes this week. Janet Harkin shared a tool for helping to prioritise work. Sarah Lay shared the main points from her presentation – ‘Magic Numbers: Measuring the Quality and Quantity of your Social Media Activity’ – at the Epic Social Media for the Public Sector conference in Exeter. Many could find this useful for thinking about an evaluation framework. Please note: towards the bottom of her post, Sarah also asks for people to take part in a survey – please participate if possible.

Continuing the work focus was Kate Bentham who was concerned about the consequences of third parties using out-of-date data from local government open data, especially childcare data. Kelly Quigley-Hicks was concerned that young people making career decisions did not see local government public relations as an attractive option, and wondered if local government PR needs some PR. Matt Murray wrote about the use of social media by local government in emergency situations (specifically, flooding in his area of Australia). I hope that some of the readers who are involved with local government communications aspects of emergency planning will share their thoughts and ideas with Matt. It would be a good thing to use blogging to help each other to help others across the world.

There was a mini culture theme this week. There was a musical topic from Andrew Beeken in his first post for Weekly Blog Club on the practicalities of recording MIDI to iPad (good to see a ‘How-To-Do’ amongst the posts). I blogged about the importance of everybody having access to the best of art, architecture and design in the UK (with a mention of how art schools have tended to produce rock and pop musicians).

Finally (and certainly not least), we had the romance of travel in two posts (the less pleasant aspects of travel were also mentioned in Mark Braggins‘s post). Louise Brown told us of romance on a Scottish island and how a telephone box there connected with an old black-and-white movie. Peter McClymont told us of a road trip he made in the United States, during which he encountered bison, bikers, and carhenge – truly the stuff of travel dreams for at least some of us.

Thank you to all the Week 6 participants for such interesting and highly readable posts. Week 7 could have the optional theme of love or romance. How many think of town halls and civic centres as romantic places? And yet so many get married in these buildings every year. Which public places do you love or consider romantic, from either a professional or personal viewpoint?


Janet E Davis


Stop the world, I want to get off for a while by Phil Jewitt.

Every thanks you ever wanted to post on Facebook (but were afraid to do so) by Graham Budd.

TWITTER GRITTER: Beware Inferior Private Sector Product by Dan Slee.

In Praise of the Priority Matrix by Janet Harkin.

Memories of a digital detox by Louise Brown.

High art for the masses by Janet E Davis.

Bill Anderson 1934-2012  by Carolyne Mitchell.

Epic Social Media for the Public Sector – South West by Sarah Lay.

A Danger of Open Data by Kate Bentham.

Does local government PR need some PR? by Kelly Quigley-Hicks.

Preston is a nice place. Oh, and Local Gov Camp North West (Part 1) by Mark Braggins.

Record MIDI to iPad by Andrew Beeken.

FlickR and the creative commons by Peter Olding.

Social media during the #bigwet January 2012 by Matt Murray.

Most awesome places in the world: number 1 in a series of… by Peter McClymont.

LocalGovCamp North West links (probably not comprehensive)

http://localgovcampnw.eventbrite.com/ (the original invite/ticketing)

http://topsy.com/localgovcampnw-estw.eventbrite.com/ – some tweets about the event.

http://johnpopham.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/celebration-2-0-and-localgovcamp-north-west/ – John Popham writing beforehand about what he will do at the event.

http://n0tice.com/report/2572/local-gov-camp-nw-updates – a collation of LocalGovCamp NW material by Sarah Hartley.

http://www.jadu.co.uk/localgovcamp – Page including material about various LocalGovCamps by one of LocalGovCamp North West’s sponsors.

http://tobyblume.posterous.com/reflections-on-local-gov-camp-new-blog-localg – Toby Blume’s reflections on the event.

http://talkaboutlocal.org.uk/bins-mags-shops-and-more-talk-about-local-at-localgovcampnw/ – blog post by Sarah Hartley – thoughts by Mike, Sarah and Karen of Talk About Local about the LocalGovCamp North West.

http://pigsonthewing.org.uk/lightning-talks/ – Andy Mabbett’s blog post about Lightning Talks at LocalGovCamp North West.

LocalGovCamp North West videos

http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&v=8gGbirbrlMY – the Lightning Talks at the end.

Weekly Blog Club was set up in early January 2012 to encourage people to blog regularly, and especially to encourage those working in and with the public sector, charities and voluntary organisations in the UK to find their own 'voice' through writing.

Posted in #WeeklyBlogClub summary, architecture, childcare, communicating, communities, cultural heritage, culture, design, digital technology, driving, emergency planning, floods, local government, management, movies, music, national government, natural environment, open data, photography, private sector, public relations, public sector, public transport, social media, sports, travel, travel and exploration, visual arts, weather

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