Monday, January 28, 2008

Engaging the YouTube generation

Following the successful introduction of my paper on blogging at a conference in London, I have now been asked to host a workshop by another organisation at a different event in London in March.

The audience is targeted at ...
■ Elected members
■ Cabinet members
■ LA Chief executives
■ Policy makers & Planners
■ Community development professionals
■ Regeneration professionals
■ IT Managers
■ Youth workers

The conference is advertised as follows "Whilst communities are becoming more connected, many public agencies, councillors, managers and community development professionals are being left behind, or are found playing around on the edges of technology. The great opportunity is to use new technological platforms to get closer to people; voters; interest groups; and communities. The opportunity to connect and importantly to engage people in real issues in real time.

You may have mastered email, have a website and even do some online booking
and payments. Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg. It is transactional. The real
advances will be made by public agencies which use new platforms to make technology transformational.

By embracing technologies such as Facebook, MySpace and YouTube; blogging;
podcasting; and even using avatars and virtual worlds you can become more and
more connected and engaged with issues that concern your communities. You can
turn apathy into action, gather insight rather than just information, connect rather
than just consult.

Achieving this transformation means that it is the people closest to communities,
councillors, managers and officials who need to embrace these opportunities and
grab them from the bowels of the IT department. This event will show you how."

I promise not to mention bowels in my workshop, but other than that, I will be focussing on how we can use blogs as a campaigning tool, a means of promoting community engagement and activity and the good things going on in our area, with a bit of politicking thrown in for good measure.

I thought it might be interesting to put this post up and to invite comments. I quite like the idea of examining this blog entry in the workshop itself.

100 people a day currently read this blog, most of them are local Liverpool people, many work as council officers, or work in other partnerships and agencies and many come for an update on community news. Others that read the blog are Labour politicians or opposition politicians, looking for any political news. Some people are local residents who are active in their local community and enjoy reading very local stories. Some people come because they share an interest in cultural activities (art, parks, exhibitions etc) and can reasonably expect me to have commented on these kind of subjects. And of course, some of the visitors are my friends and family members who just like to know what I am up to.

Why do you read my blog? What kind of entries do you particularly look for? How did you find out about the blog? What do you think I should be saying to my audience in March?


Anonymous said...

Hi Louise, as promised I have prefaced my comments with my pseudonym.
I came acros your blog while looking at the main Labour webpage, which gave me a link to you.
I knew you were a Labour councillor in Liverpool, and was suprised to find only yourself and Nick Small have blogs amongst the Labour group members.
I enjoy reading most of your blogs, I have told you previously i think you and Wendy are doing a great job in Kenny.
I find it refreshing to follow the progress of a councillor with real passion for the community they represent. I especially enjoy reading your community articles.
I was a Labour councillor myself, however i fell out with the Party over Iraq (and some of Blairs inept ministers- Byers, milburn,Kelly etc)
I of course still vote Labour. I used to be chair of the Labour group, was group secretary for a time as well as CLP secretary.
I still follow the Labour groups actvities with interest, and I number several Labour Councillors amongst my friends.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Lou, you must be pleased they have asked you. I read your blog to see what you're up to so i know when to get in touch with you as you won't bein one of your many meetings.

JB said...

I live in K n F and love it, but feel dismayed at the contemptuous way it is treated by some in authority.

I have high hopes that Louise and her colleagues will actually fight to change this, so the full potential of this place and its people can be realised.

So I read the blog to catch up on work being done to improve this part of my city, remind people of ways in which cash rich quangos like Riverside, 'New Heartlands' and Kensington New Deal too often let the area down, and give Louise and any people working for the common good some encouragement and moral support.

Of course, the entries full of politicking are good fun too, even when I don't agree.... keep 'em coming!

Robert said...

Hi Louise

Well I've only been with you a week and I'm hooked. I came because of parks and your politics was a bonus The thing about local issues is that they are, if this doesn't sound contradictory, universal. The council and neighbourhood issues which you write about will find echoes in Nottingham, Bristol, Coventry, Birmingham etc.

Above all I like to know where the few bloggers and websites I visit regularly are coming from in terms of their views on life and politics and that you do!

Robert Howard
Lenton, Nottingham

Robin Croxteth said...

I found your blog initially because I was looking for stuff about the not without controversy election in Croxteth last year... and have kept reading. This is in part because it provides an interesting view on what is going on (or not), and how the council operates (or doesn't). In short, it helps keep me connected with what's going on in a way that any newsletter can't - no slight on Rose Bailey and the others in Crocky that do put out their Labour Rose thing, but this is more immediate and more appropriate for the technology-savvy.

I read with no illusions about neutrality - you have a political viewpoint and that informs what you write as it must. However some of the things that have really stood out for me have been your reports on your work with the Parks committee - we enjoy Croxteth Park, Calderstones and the many others in Liverpool and anything that can make them better places for all is to be applauded IMO.

As far as my own politics goes - I'm what might be described as disaffected labour. There used to be no doubt I was Labour, but some of the stuff that's gone on has turned me off big time (Iraq yes, but even before that I felt Labour was moving away from me and what I thought it was about) - this makes me a prime Lib Dem target in a way, but seeing what goes on with them in charge of Liverpool means I won't support them locally at least and it damages them nationally in my eyes too. I take voting seriously, I think I've not used my vote once in 17 years, but at the moment feel like deliberately spoiling the ballot as a protest!

Robbed said...

Readers might not yet be aware that the Audit Commission have just put Liverpool Council (Lib Dem) firmly at the bottom of the list for financial management and claims that, properly managed, Liverpool council tax payers could be £100 a year better off.

Meanwhile the £150k p.a. Culture Company boss Jason Harbarrow is the latest in a long line of senior officials to amass wealth far in excess of ordinary citizens courtesy of the same council, having just secured a £quarter of a million pay off.

A suitable attraction for visitors to enjoy liverpool culture in 08 would be a fairground ride whereby they were suspended upside down over a pigsty causing their money to fall from their pockets. They could then watch as the pigs feasted on their money and there would be nothing they could do to stop it. They could return home, disappointed and skint, yet with a true understanding about what it is like to live in Liverpool in 2008.

Geoffrey Crayon said...

Hi Louise

I'm someone who gave up on blogs when they first came out. They demanded loyalty and patience to follow that I just don't have.

I'm reading them again now though because RSS feeds mean that even though I am probably wasting my time I feel I'm doing it more effectively.

The way I picked up on your blog is that I take RSS feeds off google blogsearch pages of key terms I'm interested in.

Your blog's interests coincided with mine so I subscribed to your feed and stayed with it.

I'm mostly interested in culture but realistically that also means being interested in politics and I hate the way the LibDems want us not to bother our pretty little cultured heads about it (and vote LibDem).

I live in Warbreck and as a result I'm feeling quite excited about the way people can actually do stuff with democracy. I'm hoping May will bring that feeling to more people.

Patrick Hurley said...

One of the themes of this workshop you're hosting seems to be how best to use technology to attract people to get involved locally.

Well, one of the best ways to do this, as far as I can see, is to have a one-stop website where all local content is gathered, irrespective of its political slant, or subjective views, etc.

The main problem in getting web content to the person in the street at the moment, it seems, is that it is all too fiddly. If someone wants to know what their local representatives are up to, they have to check the Post's website, the council's website, and how many individual blogs from councillors, party activists, development agencies, chamber of commerce, etc.

My idea is to gather all this content into one website. It's quite possible to do so. See this website here:

It gathers all in one place the latest blog posts from around the country from Lib Dem members. If something similar could be set up for Liverpool, then information could more easily be distributed to local people.

I've more to say but didn't want to completely derail the comments section. If you want to get in touch, feel free at