Avoiding the deep end

Tomorrow sees Tim Davies arriving at work to help steer and challenge our thinking around the use of social networking platforms to engage with young people. In particular we are hoping that Tim can offer us some guidance and advice on risk assessment policies. He has also agreed to help with challenge and consultation at our Youth Service organised Youth Festival called Kongamana later this year.

The project lead has also started a blog on this topic and project called Youth Culture. Check it out if you get a chance.

On other topics I am also looking at how we can remove the internal barriers for staff accessing social networking sites. I am supporting our internal audit team on pulling together a report which will be discussed at our ICT governance group (Including Senior Managers and Elected Members). I am very positive that we will open up to this and break down some of the cultural issues associated with such sites.

One issue which is bugging me, is that people always ask the question “How do we stop staff abusing such sites?” My view is that like most technologies they can be abused, but we need to ensure we have a culture which encourages and supports managers in managing outputs and not recording time spent in the office. The issue becomes even more complex when we are encouraging staff to work from home or remotely, so how do we equip managers to monitor usage in these scenarios? We don’t we give them the ability to manage performance by outputs and acknowledge that social networking is the fabric by which work gets done….. It also requires us to take a leap of faith, like we did when we first opened up email to all staff and internet access…

I am also encouraged that other councils who attended the web 2 workshop last week have already started to implement some basic features – twitter on homepage, flickr photo directory. All great stuff i think you will agree. If you want to read the list of possible actions we can do visit Ewan Mcintosh’s blog.

My word of caution, don’t try everything at once.

I had a meeting earlier with a colleague who wanted to use powerful emotional video content to promote road safety messages. The content included victims of drink driving through to someone who was convicted of drink driving and had killed someone. Powerful and emotional stuff to watch.

Now we have like most authorities struggled when it comes to video content, who hosts, how much and how can we deliver added value. Well in light of last weeks event, I explored blip.tv, which provides a really good twist on hosting as you can create branded players and playlists to group content together and remove advertising altogether…. So that is what we are looking at doing over the next few months.

On a seperate note and if you are aware of this type of thing. I am keen to know if any local authorities are using open office? please comment or signpost me to anywhere where this information might be accessible?