Pushing Government content through Social channels

Early morning in the Isle of ManI’ve been doing some work recently here in the Isle of Man exploring a number of different options around pushing Government content through Social media channels. The reasons behind this are two-fold, primarily to distribute content from Government onto channels which other people are watching, and secondly to embrace and encourage other content being produced by talented individuals concerning the Isle of Man.

Distributing Government content on other channels
My friend Sherrilynne has an interesting analogy when looking at Social Media channels. She compares social websites to a dinner party where people may or may not be talking about you and always poses the question as to whether you want to participate in this conversation. To drive the analogy further, I compare someone publishing content to announcing that you’re going to be engaged. Sure you can do this in the comfort and privacy of your own home; but no one is going to find out about it. If instead you announce it at a dinner party, then you’re generating immediate buzz around the announcement and generating a wave of conversation that can spread around your community.

Embracing other people’s content
The secondary reason for looking to these channels is an awareness of other people creating content about the Isle of Man and wanting to enforce and even encourage that sort of content creation. As with all brands/topics people are going to create both positive and negative content in any space they have; but taking an active part in those conversations gives us the choice as to what we want to discourage or discourage, what we want to lend credence to and what perception we would like to reinforce.

It’s quite an interesting challenge but really only the first steps in a journey. Where I would like to see this heading is adoption of digital engagement channels that isn’t “owned” by the technology department, but by the different parts of Government. At the end of the day, the future of the country should be shaped by the individuals who live here; and improving communication between different parties around the country will lead to better place for everyone.

As with any change, there are going to be challenges along the way. I came across an interesting quote on Seth Godin’s Tribes this morning:

Fear of change is built into most organisms, because change is the first sign of risk

I thought this was quite poignant and explains why so many people are averse to change. But as long as we’re aware of the impact of the change on what we’re doing and believe it’s for the greater good, then we need to be brave and take the necessary steps.

In the meantime, check out the Isle of Man Government’s YouTube channel, the Isle of Man Government’s Twitter channel and the Isle of Man Government’s Flickr channel. The YouTube channels is the most interesting at this stage because it’s the one I’ve spent most time on; and it’s indicative of where these conversations could be heading.

Isle of Man Online Services on a Wii

I always find it fascinating to see people using services we deploy in new and imaginative manners. Well, today I got some photos of what the Isle of Man Government Online Services look like on a Nintendo Wii and it was great to see that the site performed admirably. Ok, it’s only Opera, but we never tested it in that form factor or using that interface; so the fact that it worked fine is a testament to the great team I work with.

Here are the screenshots:

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to persuade our project sponsor that we need a Wii for “testing purposes”. Better luck next time …

New icon for TweeterSearch

Just wanted to post a quick vote of thanks to Hyder from FreshPress Themes for creating a new icon for my TweeterSearch plugin: a custom search for Firefox which lets you search for people on Twitter.

It’s great to find so much support and help for things like this online. This plugin has had a paricularly interesting genesis. It was spawned by @corvida wishing somthing similar was available. I poked around a bit, figured how the XML worked (actually, I used the MySearchFunds (a FireFox custom search that provides a Paid Search) custom search to figure out how FireFox’s additional search engines work, hand-crafted a new search and Twittered about it, and now Hyder has contributed an icon for it. The Web really brings a sense of community to those to work and play in it. I wonder if I write a blog post about wanted to do a Cisco certification if someone will send me some used Cisco equipment. *grin*

On a side note, while writing this post, someone (Norbert) popped onto my Google Chatback widget, offering to help translate my Sponsorship plugin to German. Pretty friendly place this Internet, huh?

Value from IT in Government

Solidsoft have just issued another edition of their quaterly public sector bulletin: Value from IT in Government. These are the features in this latest issues:

Feature Articles

A turning point for eGovernment

Liam Kelly, Public Sector Practice Manager, Solidsoft explains why he believes these
are exciting times for local authorities.
>> more

Government Connect – Making the business case

Steve Lawrence, Take-up Manager, Government Connect, answers questions about what
Government Connect is, how it will help deliver citizen-centric services and how Local
Authorities can make a business case for using it.
>> more

Government Connect – beyond local authorities

Government Connect may have been developed primarily for local authorities, but there
are compelling arguments as to why other agencies should look to adopt the services
it provides.
>> more

Product News

Taking the strain out of known facts at Liverpool City

Instead of periodically uploading known facts to Government Connect, Liverpool Direct
have taken a different approach. Billy Kershaw, Programme Manager, explains why it’s
less of a strain.
>> more

Hot Topics

Microsoft announces Connected Government Framework

New platform helps local councils deliver transformation in a managed, controlled
and cost-effective way.
>> more

New templates in forthcoming Visual Studio Foundation Server

With the ‘Transformational Government’ White Paper putting an emphasis on improving
how IT is planned and delivered, Charles Young, Principle Consultant, Solidsoft, evaluates
the impact of two new methodology templates – MSF for Agile Software Development and
MSF for CMMI Process Improvement
>> more

Facilitating joined up government with federated security

Andy James, Chief Technology Officer, Solidsoft, examines the benefits of creating
a federated security environment.
>> more

Check out the whole issue: Solidsoft
– Value from IT

10 ways to manage your boss

Interesting article to read this morning. Talks about what it claims to be “the most important relationship you have at work”. Very interesting take on the subject, and some good advice in there. If you have become used to Dilbert-fuelled cynisism about the workplace, it’s refreshing to see some good pointers that can really help your career.

Read here: 10 rules to manage your boss