Pearls, BlueLight, grapevines… and cake, filthy cake!

If only someone had written about swine, we might have had the title ‘Pearls, swine, casting…’ this week, but in Weekly Blog Club we do not determine subjects to ensure we have whimsical titles for the weekly summary. No, siree! We handcraft the summary to fit the wide range of topics presented by the Weekly Blog Club contributors.

For Week 22, we ended up with something of a communications theme because because a couple of regular contributors attended the same local government communications training event, and a couple of others wrote unrelated posts that also covered comms team tools.

The grapevine is often used as a metaphor for an informal communications network. Diane Sims had two grapevines in her post for Week 22, Shared Spaces: A tale of two grapevines. Her fascinating blog post was written to accompany The Young Foundation‘s final report on the Local 2.0 project in which she has been involved. One of their grapevines is a real one, rescued and tended well enough to produce grapes. The other is a digital one, communicating news about and for the local community. Many in public services or Third Sector should find this post very useful.

The subject of emergency communications started the week as Mark Braggins finished his account of the BlueLightCamp: BlueLightCamp: Weekend Camping Pt2. This had seemed a very interesting event from the tweets at the time, and Mark’s post confirms that. In this part, he covers the topic of analysing social media messages after last year’s riots. It should be interesting reading for those still trying to persuade colleagues and politicians about needing to use social media in public services.

The topic of social media use in last year’s riots also came up at the LGComms Academy in Birmingham. The Academy took place over 3 days, and two of the Weekly Blog Club regulars attended and blogged about it. Dan Slee wrote two posts about it and managed to condense them into 18 points from the first day – 18 pearls of wisdom from lgcomms academy birmingham: day one, and 24 from the second – 24 more pearls of wisdom from lgcomms academy birmingham: day 2. Carolyne Mitchell’s post raised the question of whether a more participatory element could be introduced in To conference or unconference, that is the question. All three posts are worth reading, especially (but not only) by those working in public services.

Kate Bentham wrote about an event also attended by Dan Slee (and others) – Filthy Cake Camp – My Rite of Passage – where she changed from just learning from others about social media for work to being able to sharing her own professional experience of using it. She recommends tempting people to attend through promise of cake.

Perhaps those who attended LGComms Academy might be able to help answer Graham Budd’s question this week in Help wanted: all about the banter? He needs some advice about online communications via social media between public servants and politicians when only some of the politicians are on social media channels.

Matt Bond shared more advice on how to do practical things in Week 22. This time it was yet more that can be done with an iPhone (plus a few other bits and pieces) in Corporate interviews using the iPhone (and he did state that in the future he will do a post on how to do the same using an Android phone).

Benjamin Welby shared the results of some work he did a while ago – Harry Hazard – a series of digital animated films for tenants in privately let accommodation. The animations show both the tenants’ responsibilities and what should be their landlord’s responsibilities, encouraging them to contact their landlords where necessary.

Speak up is one of the pieces of advice shared in Ross Wigham’s post on the subject of speaking in public. Many of us have to do presentations, talks or speeches at some point (or should do but avoid it), so Ross’s advice should be useful to many.

Hannah Chia would prefer some media did not ‘speak up’ so much about women’s weight. Her post – If Jessica Ennis is Fat, What Hope for the Rest of Us? – was prompted by ridiculous criticism of female Olympic athletes’ appearance. It is such a serious issue because it is virtually impossible to escape even in passing the lurid magazine covers that declare a woman too fat or too thin, sometimes in the same week.

The criticism of what women look like even creeps into my explanation of Why I will not be famous. This post was prompted partly by the lack of women in the Cabinet currently; partly by questions asked more frequently about why there are fewer women presenting certain types of programmes on television (and how they seem to fit a certain type most of the time). I also have considered the idea from having researched a 19th century celebrity and how fame affected her life.

Phil Jewitt anticipated what I intended to suggest as the Week 23 (entirely optional) theme in A good knock – a post about the 25th anniversary of his starting at Leeds City Council. He picks out some key points of his career thus far and comments on what has changed over the years.

Whether you approve or disapprove of the monarchy, it will have been impossible to miss that the first weekend of June has been the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. You may have taken part in or observed events to celebrate that, and may want to write about it. You may want to write about why you would prefer the UK to be a republic.

I am suggesting a slightly broader (entirely optional) theme for Week 23, however, of anniversaries, jubilees, festivals, pageants, fêtes, country fairs and shows. As I write, the first big music festival in Newcastle of the summer season has just happened, and I’m thinking of my role as one of the people who has been involved with thinking about how we plan for the future of that area.

Thank you very much to all those who have contributed posts to Week 22. If I have missed any posts out, please do tell me via Twitter. Thank you also to those who have already read these posts and indicated liking them, and to new followers. Contributing a post is easy, and is explained on our About page. We already have one post in from Matt  Murray for Week 23, and look forward to seeing the others soon.


Janet E Davis.

Summary of Week 21 posts

BlueLightCamp: Weekend Camping Pt2 by Mark Braggins.

Shared Spaces: A tale of two grapevines by Diane Sims.

Filthy Cake Camp – My Rite of Passage by  Kate Bentham.

To conference or unconference, that is the question by Carolyne Mitchell.

Help wanted: all about the banter? by Graham Budd.

If Jessica Ennis is Fat, What Hope for the Rest of Us? by Hannah Chia.

A good knock by  Phil Jewitt.

18 pearls of wisdom from lgcomms academy birmingham: day one by Dan Slee on the comms2point0 blog.

24 more pearls of wisdom from lgcomms academy birmingham: day 2 by Dan Slee on the comms2point0 blog.

Why I will not be famous by Janet E Davis.

Speak up by  Ross Wigham.

Harry Hazard by Benjamin Welby.

Corporate interviews using the iPhone by  Matt Bond.


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.

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Posted in #WeeklyBlogClub summary, animations or cartoons, cake/caek, charitable trusts, communicating, communities, digital technology, festival, housing, leadership, media, national government, politics, private sector, public sector, social media, Third sector, training, unconferences, websites, working practices

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