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Showing posts from August, 2013

LocalGov Digital Hangouts

A hangout is a video chat room, integrated into Google+. Isn't that a dead platform you might ask? I used to think that too, but I wrote about why I changed my mind, here.

Back in February 2013 I ran the first LocalGov Digital hangout, an evening event for those with an interest in local government and digital; Kate Sahota ran the next one in March. Since then I've taken part in a few of Shane Dillion's excellent hangouts, Jerome's Turners Out Of Hours Hyperlocal and set up what we hope to be regular hangout for local government officers in Berkshire.

Now seems like a good time to make LocalGov Digital hangouts a regular event and to start with I'll be running them from 2pm to 3pm on the third Thursday of every month. Whilst the hangouts will focus on a topic, the overall aim will be to share ideas, promote collaboration and highlight local government best practice in delivering services and information digitally.

Like unconferences and camps, hangouts for the pub…

Kick starting collaboration in Local Government

A while ago, at a LocalGov Digital Steering Group I suggested the idea of a "dating site" or Kickstarter for Local Government. This week I was discussing Nesta's new Creative Commons Europe site with Carl Haggerty and Paul Mackay; it seemed like a good idea to re-visit the subject.

When it comes to digital services, councils often tend to buy off-the-shelf solutions with a customised look and feel. This means that essentially, some suppliers are selling the same thing over and over again with a different paint job. It's production line development and sales in digital services, or IT systems as they're often seen as, which are treated as a purchased product with a limited shelf-life. When the shelf-life expires the procurement process starts again.

Producing digital services should be an iterative process, as documented in the Government Service Design Manual. People's expectations of digital services are constantly evolving and Local Government is not immun…

Trolls, vigilantes and vigilante trolls.

There's been a lot of talk recently about the creation of a "Report Abuse" button on Twitter. There's already a procedure to report abuse and you're able to block users from tweeting @ you, but this would make it easier to do so. When launched, in my opinion the Report Abuse button will help create two new groups on Twitter.


It's always been possible to seek out and join in the conversation of others on Twitter, it's one of the great things about the medium. The Report Abuse button will make it much easier for people to try to stop conversations happening.

It goes without saying that everyone has different views and that expends to what constitutes abuse too. Journalist Caitlin Moran seems to dislike misogynistic language but has usesd phrases like "bum boy", "tranny", "mong" and "spaz" which others might find offensive, for example.

One person's humour is another's abusive language and being ab…