|Photograph: York City Council|
On the 11th July we're trying something a bit different. Residents, people from local businesses and organisations standing in the streets of West Berkshire will be publishing content live on our website.
In the past I've described how Twitter is basically a content management tool used by 140 million users worldwide. When the Olympic Torch Relay comes through West Berkshire this theory will be put to the test.
The contributors or Torch Tweeters as we're calling them will be describing the Relay in their own words and will hopefully convey the experience of viewing a once in a lifetime event to those who can't be there. It's similar to what Citizen Relay did in Scotland, but live and in real time on a website.
Why do I think this a good thing? Well firstly those like me who work in Comms and extol the virtues of social media occasionally need to remind themselves that not everyone gets it. Sure you could obtain the same information from Twitter but publishing it as content on one's website opens it up to those those don't understand or simply don't want to use it Twitter.
Secondly, it means they'll be a network of people reporting on this event. Hopefully this will result in coverage on the day that is more extensive than we could have managed without them.
Thirdly, and probably the most exciting and at the same time daunting, it's allowing our website to become a forum for local views, albeit in this example on a specific day, on a specific subject, from specific people.
So what's the next move if this is successful? Well potentially coverage of other events by those attending them for sure, but perhaps even a Virtual Operations Support Team however this is entirely dependent on people willing to come forward at take part for each event or emergency.
Whatever happens, on July 12th we'll know whether this works as a concept or not. What do you think of this approach? I'd be interested to know and you can find me at @PhilRumens.