In the thick of it as the times are a-changing

Thank you very much to Kate Bentham for looking after Weekly Blog Club for two weeks and to Louise Brown for looking after it for a week. It was good to get a break from it and to free up my thinking to tackle other things for three consecutive weeks. If you want to help out by volunteering as a guest curator, all you need to know is here.

When I set up the blog and Twitter account, I thought that people would probably stop contributing after a couple of months, and I do get concerned that Weekly Blog Club is not sustainable because looking after it is quite time-consuming. I mentioned this in conversation to someone a couple of months ago who said “just stop doing it – if people want it, they’ll pick it up.” I was startled, slightly shocked, at the suggestion and realised that I feel a sense of responsibility to keep it going. I might try different approaches to the weekly summary though.

I had wondered some time ago about it becoming more of a magazine (or zine), with articles appearing directly in here (either written straight into this site or copied from the original blogs (always with links back to original blogs, of course), and with a more designed, magazine look to it. It would be one of the most eclectic zines on the Web! The question has also been raised as to whether it could be a sponsored site. Since I am also being asked more often for advice on blogging for beginners in the public sector and community groups, I had also wondered if it might be viable at any time in the future as a Community Interest Company, with modest payments for maintaining the website and being host/editor. The post-Leveson Royal Charter could be a problem though, since it could affect multiple-author blogs that are sponsored. Your thoughts on these issues are welcome.

But back to the thick of it… There were slightly fewer posts  (16) in Week 17 than has been the usual so far in 2013. The variety and the quality remained undiminished, however. Most of the posts could be broadly grouped as being about communications, public sector or, more specifically, the health services.

Murray Glaister’s post demystified the process of moving to using The Electronic Casenote (eCn), how case notes are being digitised and the system is being used. Having been involved with digitising mainly historical texts and images in cultural heritage, including developing controlled vocabularies (I might write a post about this sometime) to embed in metadata, I was very curious as to whether anything like that is or would be included in the Electronic Casenote system.

Fiona McQueen was asking difficult questions in When Will the Lessons Stop? on the Ayrshire Health blog, following the publication of the Francis inquiry into the Mid-Staffordshire NHS.

Susan Munro considered the issue of having a student working on placement in her post Look To The Future. As someone who has supervised students on placements in the culture sector quite regularly over the years, I was very interested to read Susan’s views on this in the much more sensitive area of mental healthcare. Whatever sector you work in, it is worth helping to teach or train the next generation of professionals, and can be surprisingly rewarding.

Another mental health professional, Derek Barron, wrote a post this week that would be relevant in all sectors, Leading in a new environment, about the issues of starting a new management job, what kind of a difference he might make on this short (three-month) secondment, and the nature and stages of leadership.

In Changing Times on the OPM blog, epidemiologist Kate Pickett, Professor of Inequalities in Health at York University, shared her thoughts on the inequalities in our society, and on what needs to change and how things could change.

The North East of England needs change to improve the future chances for its citizens, environment and regional economy. Could things change for the better in the with more effective communications between people in the region and those in Parliament? Ross Wigham, after spending years trying to convince friends that his job is not like The Thick of It’s Malcolm Tucker, hosted a CIPR North East event recently on how communications people in the North East can engage with those in ‘the Westminster Village’ The thick of it – 10 tips for engaging with Parliament.

Dan Slee blogged about FOUR REASONS: Why I’m not in the CIPR and his post brought forth some interesting responses, including an amusing blog-length one from a CIPR person on what benefits Dan (and others) would gain from belonging. Of course, a CIPR person would know that Your PR is only as good as your product, as Kenny McDonald wrote, with examples of what happens when the product is not adequate.

Carolyne Mitchell was asked about how to narrow down the selection of PR professionals who had applied for a job. Since it was a role involving digital communications, she recommended looking at their presence online. In Meet my professional digital footprint,  she went through how to do it (bear in mind that most search engines give results skewed to what your preferences are perceived to be), sharing examples of her own. I must admit that I spent a few hours checking out mine (if you have a common name, it is advisable to try it also with keywords relating to your work). You should be aware of which data about you emerges through search engines.

Lesley Thomson was focusing on Jamming with Learner Journey Data on the OKFN Scotland (Open Knowledge Foundation Scotland) blog this week. It is always interesting to see what people think of doing with public data at such hacks, and hard work but enjoyable to participate. Do have a look at the prototypes the hackers produced.

The ‘How to Hack into a Government Website’ section in Peter Olding’s My report from UK GovCamp 2013 was probably one of the reasons why it was the most popular post of Week 17. His very clear and readable account of the sessions he attended at this annual public sector unconference was particularly helpful, especially for those of us who had not been able to go.

The organisers of UK GovCamp 2013 did try to provide some live feed of the event this year. It would be great if more people thought of using technology as an alternative for those who cannot be in a specific place at a specific time. Chris Bolton, in his post Better Understanding – the benefit of meetings. Remember the first time? considered whether alternatives to face-to-face meetings can be useful.

Karl Green was thinking about the benefits of the analogue versus digital this week, and wrote about the The Joy of Real Books in a world in which people are increasingly reading books on electronic tablets.

The demise of another boy band was the subject of Lindsay Narey’s amusing post: JLS won’t Beat Again – dealing with another boy band bombshell. I must admit that I struggle to see the difference between most boy bands and have never understood the attraction. My tastes in music and men have always been somewhat different.

I was delighted to see that Lesley Thomson was unable to withstand the lure of the songs of me challenge any longer, and that her songs of me was her first personal post. Of course, she had interesting songs and stories relating to them. If we ever have a Weekly Blog unconference, we will have a very substantial and mixed playlist from all the songs of me posts as our pre-/post-unconference party.

Richard Overy’s vintage picture posts prove that one does not have to write great swathes of text for a post. His weekly posts are inevitably Liked and retweeted. A well-chosen image and a couple of sentences about it can be exactly what people want to see. Richard’s post this week was Uncle Joe, an intriguing image that lacks something that would tell you at a glance how Uncle Joe won his trophies.

If I have left out anyone’s post, please do say. It is not always easy to keep track of which posts are to be included in a week when handing over from one host to another.

Thank you very much to all who contributed by writing, reading, liking, following or retweeting the Week 17 posts. If you are inspired to join the contributors, more about how to can be found on our About page. Do join in at any point during the year, and if you need help, tweet us and one of us should respond quite soon.

Now I must get on with the Week 18 summary. (If you are writing a post, we are in the middle of Week 19).


Janet E Davis

Summary of Week 17 posts

The Further Adventures of Karl: The Joy of Real Books by Karl S Green.

Uncle Joe by Richard Overy.

Meet my professional digital footprint by Carolyne Mitchell.

FOUR REASONS: Why I’m not in the CIPR by Dan Slee.

Leading in a new environment by Derek Barron.

When Will the Lessons Stop? by Fiona McQueen on the Ayrshire Health blog.

The thick of it – 10 tips for engaging with Parliament by Ross Wigham.

Look To The Future by Susan D Munro on the mentalhealthslt blog.

Better Understanding – the benefit of meetings. Remember the first time? by Chris Bolton.

songs of me by Lesley Thomson

Your PR is only as good as your product by Kenny McDonald.

Jamming with Learner Journey Data by Lesley Thomson on the OKFN Scotland (Open Knowledge Foundation Scotland) blog.

My report from UK GovCamp 2013 by Peter Olding.

The Electronic Casenote (eCn) by Murray Glaister on Dumfries and Galloway Health blog.

Changing Times by Professor Kate Pickett on the OPM (Office for Public Management Ltd) blog.

JLS won’t Beat Again – dealing with another boy band bombshell by Lindsay Narey on the High Tea Cast blogzine.

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, blogging, communicating, communities, data, digital technology, education, finance, health, leadership, music, national government, open data, performing arts, public relations, public sector, setting goals, social media, society, unconferences, websites, working practices
5 comments on “In the thick of it as the times are a-changing
  1. Interesting posts as ever! In terms of the future of Weekly Blog Club – I would agree that it’s a lot of work. Very rewarding too though! Sorry we’ve been unable to help out since our one and only effort, but hopefully a member of the team will be able to help out in the near-ish future when we’re back to full capacity!

  2. Thank you! That would be great if someone from Participation Cymru is able to do it again. Certainly, everyone who’s looked after Weekly Blog Club so far has said that they found it very rewarding – but the time is an issue.

    • I’ll certainly put it in my recommendations for the person who takes over from me! Plus if I blog in my new role (which I may well do) I’ll certainly try and make it part of the agenda there too.

      • Thanks, Dyfrig! We look forward to more blogs from your Participation Cymru successor and hope to see some from you in your new role – and help in looking after Weekly Blog Club occasionally would be welcomed if either of you have the time and inclination 🙂

  3. […] In the thick of it as the times are a-changing ( […]

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