Category Archives: social networking

Know your dope fiend

I live in South London.

Most days it’s safe – I say this despite the fact that in five minutes, I could walk you past the location of three murders over the last 12 months.

Yes, there is crime here and something needs to be done about it… although I’m not convinced Lambeth Council’s latest ‘name and shame’ idea will work. The campaign is predicated on coming to Brixton for the ‘right‘ reasons:

The posters, which are displayed at Brixton tube and on buses across the borough, show anonymous faces of ‘offenders’, listing their drug offence, the conviction they were given – and the unwelcome publicity they received as a result. These images are mirrored by partner posters that quote visitors who came to Brixton to enjoy the culture, food, and nightlife, rather than to buy drugs. The council says the over-riding message is ‘come to Brixton for the right reasons’.

So, come to Brixton to buy or sell drugs and you could end up on Lambeth council’s very own version of facebook, backed up by a print campaign.  Whilst the print campaign uses models, it appears the online campaign – hosted on the council’s website – doesn’t.

What I don’t understand is what happens if (and it may be a big if) an offender manages to turn their lives around. Ok to get rid of the profile then, or will it be left on the website as a permanent scarlett letter?

To me, whilst the press around the campaign suggests it’s targeting both buyers and sellers it’s the latter that I think they are really after – if there is no market, I guess the theory goes, there aren’t any dealers. At least not visible ones.

Is there a better way to use social media in this context? Will the announcement of interactive crime maps help?


Facebook and the Civil Service

With the release of principles for online paticipation, one of the channels that needs to be addressed is Facebook.

Unfortunately, Facebook says that Civil Service Network Page will be discontinued soon. So, I’ve set up a group page to keep the conversation happening, link is:

More on this ‘group’ later…

Principles for online participation – guidance for Civil Servants

Over the weekend I wrote about the value of a common disclaimer for civil servants that blog – it seems I didn’t need to worry as there are now principles for online participation in place, launched today by the UK e-government minister.

I’m not sure this will lead to an explosion of government bloggers but it does provide some sense of security for those already bloggingt. It will be interesting to see where this leads – the public sector digital community seems to be responding positively: some can already see potential in the announcement, whilst for others there is a general sense of relief.

My original post on a common disclaimer had some very helpful steers from colleagues in the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, I’d be really interested to hear what they think of the guidance, as would the team behind them.

Her Majesty’s news, also on friendfeed

I’ve replicated my original twitter project and have aggregated a number of government feeds into a HMGov News friendfeed. Looking at the aggregated product I’m not sure which I prefer – all of the gov feeds in one spot, or something that’s a little less cluttered, like the downing street friendfeed.

The more I use friendfeed the more I like it. I don’t know if it will end up being a twitter replacement but it seems to have it’s merits and dedicated followers who are increasingly championing its potential.

Thanks again to Dennis for telling me to have a look.

Downing Street now on FriendFeed

With the recent downtime in twitter and the arguments around why this has been happening, I thought I would look at friendfeed as an alternative. I have to admit I like what I see, particularly the ability to create a ‘room’ to host conversations – this could be great for ad-hoc consultation activities. I’m still getting the hang of it, but it seems that friendfeed can offer a better ‘lifestream’ of UK Gov activities than shoveling press notices into twitter.

I’ll probably stick to twitter for the moment because the HMGOV feed works for me (when twitter does). Having said that, while I’m exploring friendfeed I’d like to see news I want come to me, so I’ve started aggregating UK Government feeds – I’ll add more as I find the time.

This isn’t an ‘official’ activity – but the content is. If any civil servants want to take ownership of their stream, or can suggest improvements, let me know and I’ll hand it over/do what I can.

Anyway, for now I thought I’d start with one of the more active government players in the social media space: 10 Downing Street is now on friendfeed.

Her Majesty’s news on twitter – an update


A while back I mentioned that I’d developed an aggregated news feedof UK Government press notices for Twitter. It works for me because twitter is (when it’s working) where I spend a lot of my time online.

The tool was/is far from perfect, and with some very helpful suggestions from Dave Briggs, Simon Dickson, Paul Webster, John Sheridan and a host of other peopleI have managed to improve (I think)  the content by incorporating more feeds, hash-tags and doing a bit of QA on the links. It’s not perfect – but it works for me.

One thing I haven’t been able to do is sit on the end of the account and respond. This is one of the fantastic things about the Downing Street service – civil servants, responding and providing advice in an ‘official’ capacity. This probably explains why I was only recently able to clock just over one hundred subscribers (124 today) – a feat the Downing Street feed was able to achieve in roughly an hour.

As I said in my original post, if there are any civil servants out there that would like to take ownership of the account to make it more two-way, I’m happy to hand it over.

By teens, for teens

Picking up on a Home Office press notice, I’ve just had a look at a new a bebo site that is a result of a creative summit between the Home Office and teenagers trying to prevent knife crime.

I’m not much of a bebo user, but the platform seems to appeal to the teenagers that the Government (and other teens) are targeting. The campaign will run for the next three years, so it will be interesting to see how the Home Office tweaks the campaign if they find it isn’t hitting the mark. Hopefully they’ll continue to have discussions with teens on the best way to prevent knife crime, and then feed this back into the campaign.

All in all though, a great example of collaboration. I hope it works.