Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The first rule of weeklyblogclub...

You may have noticed a dramatic increase in the posting rate of this blog recently. I've gone from about every four weeks to once a week. The blame for this rests squarely with one Janet Davis - the evil mastermind behind weeklyblogclub. I'd witnessed the birth of the club on Twitter a few months ago and was watching developments with interest. But I made a point of keeping my virtual head down, as I really wasn't sure I wanted to commit to blogging once a week.

However, one fateful day, Janet just came straight out and asked me if I wanted to join...what could I do? Well, I suppose I could have said no...I tried to, I did...but Janet is a persuasive I eventually found myself agreeing.

And, so far so good. I've managed to find something to talk about - and more crucially the time to write about it - for a few weeks now (apart from last week, but I wasn't well). This is partly just down to timing, as I'm up to all sorts at the moment. What happens when it all dries up, I don't know. And I do worry that the quality of my posting will suffer (and there's not much leeway there as it is!).

Still, I've banged on before about getting more public sector people blogging and something like weeklyblogclub is a grand way to do it. And I'm in really good company - which may well help me raise my blogging game.

So, if you feel that you could be doing with some encouragement to get (or keep) your blog on, there's no joining fee or registration process. Just follow the instructions and blog away! If you're not quite ready to blog yourself, check out the site for brilliant bloggage on a weekly basis.

PS. As far as I know, there isn't a 'first rule of weeklyblogclub'. But I'm pretty sure that, if there were, it wouldn't be 'don't talk about weeklyblogclub'!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Anyone for teacamp?

***UPDATE***: the inaugural #teacampscotland will take place at Spoon on Nicolson Street, Edinburgh (across the road from the Festival Theatre) on Thursday, 17 May from 4pm - 6pm.  No booking required - just turn up! (First order of business: coming up with a better hashtag!)

Probably not a week goes by without me getting a little pang of that ‘wishing I still lived in London’ thing. It’s usually because there’s a show on or an exhibition that I really want to see. But it’s also because of teacamp. As the website says: teacamps are “regular meetups of gov/non gov digerati in a cafe over a cup of tea. Teacamps are informal and you can just turn up”. The first teacamp took place in February 2008, not long after I left London (I don’t think they waited for me to go...). The original teacamp is still going strong, regional teacamps have sprung up, and recently, specialist teacamps have started to appear.

And the pang is quite strong this week because the topic of discussion at today's teacamp is social media guidance – something that I know more than a little about, having been writing some for the Scottish Government for what feels like a short lifetime (but that’s for another blog post!). 

I made an attempt to start something similar up here a couple of years back, but there wasn’t much interest at the time. But after a tweet from Gordon Hunt (Ayr Campus Director and University Librarian at the University of the West of Scotland), I’m giving it some further thought.

There are issues though. 

Location, location, location! Teacamp takes place in Cafe Zest in House of Fraser on Victoria Street – which is really only a stones throw from many of the big government department headquarters. There isn’t really an equivalent location in Scotland. Even in Edinburgh, Scottish Government and agency offices are spread all over the city. Would Glasgow folk come to Edinburgh, or vice versa? And what about the rest of our wee country - which is actually not always that easy to get around! I guess maybe the answer is not worry about it too much - set something up where people are interested and if someone wants one somewhere else there's nothing to stop them.

Gordon and I may see a need, but does anyone else? It’s not that there aren’t already opportunities for government/wider public sector/people who live in the real world to get together to talk digital stuff in Scotland. I’ve already blogged (twice!) about the amazing stuff that’s starting to happen here. We’ve recently had two very successful Tartan TweetMeets in multiple locations and we’ve just re-booted the Scottish Public Sector Digital Group. But neither of those does quite what teacamp does.

The nearest equivalent may be the ‘coffee mornings'. Edinburgh Coffee Morning (#Edcm) which takes place at Centotre on George Street early every Friday morning, is probably the most successful, but there are others. There are a few public sector folk (and people who work with the public sector) who attend, but the focus is on general geekery rather than public sector geekery. And us government types aren’t always comfortable in that sort of environment.

So what do you think? Would you be interested in attending a Scottish teacamp/s? If so, where? And would you want to help set something up?

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Recipe for success…how to cook up a day of public sector digital goodness

[NB: cross posted from the Scottish Public Sector Digital Group blog]


Serves: 16431+ *

Preparation time: as long as it takes 

Cooking time: a day or so




60+ digi types (a high quality mix from 14 local authorities and 16 public sector organisations)
4 inspirational speakers
1 very helpful sponsor
several pints of coffee
2 great venues
1 flipchart
limitless sticky notes
smartphones, Macs, netbooks and iPads
whatever social media sites you have to hand
many, many teacakes 


Place the digi types in the first venue, fill with coffee and then slowly add the inspirational speakers.

Simmer for a bit, then allow the mixture to rest for 30 minutes.

Remove the digi types and place in the second venue.

Carefully place the sticky notes onto the flip chart (using the picture above as a guide).

Stuff the digi types with teacakes, add the wifi to the mix and fold in the Macs, netbooks, smartphones and iPads. Sprinkle on the social media sites.

Separate the mixture into 3 separate rooms.

Allow the mixture to rise. Remove after 45 minutes and stir.

Repeat twice more.

Recombine the mixture.

Serve chilled.

Optional step: add alcohol to the digi types and flambé.

And hey presto! A day of questioning, listening, knowledge sharing, planning, plotting, idea forming, contact making, and more!

* that's the number of accounts Tweet Reach says we reached...