Mashed up – hold fire and wait….

In recent weeks i have been pondering whether or not my council should take the time and effort to develop Facebook or Bebo gadgets for positive activities information or youth participation activities. In fact any kind of gadget for these sites.

These thoughts were sparked by the recent consultation with young people as well as constructive conversations with Tim Davies around gadgets for youth participation.

My view is that as a user why would i want a “council” gadget…i personally like the idea but i still need convincing that this is the right way forward.

If we take positive activities (essential information aimed at young people about what activities and events are available to them) as an example then it would surely make more sense for a “national” gadget to be created that my council could feed data and information into it.  This way it would remove the potential “political boundary” issues that always occur with council services.

This i believe would make more sense to young people and would be more valuable in the  sense that they would only need one gadget for this information instead of potentially three or four depending on where they lived and how far they were prepared to travel for activities.

So today i put together a very quick and dirty model in my head, very simple, but it has already helped when talking to people about trying to encourage a wider development perspective.


What we need to do is focus on how we can contribute to the schema to enable our local data to be used wider. However it needs to be simple and not a burden to local authorities or it won’t work.

I am sure there will be much more around this topic and i hope to build a better picture as the one above does look pretty basic. Unless someone has one they can signpost me to…


Joined up to Mashed up

Joined Up Government  – what does that really mean?  I know what it implies, that we are all disconnected and need something to bring us together…

In it’s most basic format and in the web context, i would say that it includes a “deep link” from my site directly to content or services in another site, instead of there homepage. We will all recognise that as common sense, wouldn’t we?

As part of the work i am doing in my council to redevelop and redesign the public facing website – i have proposed a new website framework moving us toward a “mashed-up” future.  Joined up will still play a role, but in a different context. Deep links will no longer mean the same thing and it will be moving us toward a platform that can deliver the content you want directly to your personalised web front end or in my example the council’s web framework (or homepage)

OR we could open the applications/content/services up to 3rd parties who would also be able to deliver them into personalised web front ends or their websites

My view is that, i need to ensure that my councils online services and information is accessible and deliverable in as many formats and medium as possible.  I also need to ensure that we are efficient and effective and provide a professional service.

Joining up with other councils creates a relationship and a reliance that is not always supported or sustainable. It also creates a forced structure on how we should join up information and services, putting increasing pressure on us to get these links right in the first place.  WHY? because we want our citizens to have a great online experience……that does however assume that i know what these citizens are after, each and every single one of them.

When i last checked our web stats (we use Google), we had just under 300,000 visits for May and 305,000 visits for June (not bad for public sector websites), so who are these people and what do they all want to do on the site.

This was causing my head to turn around and i have always been puzzled as to the real validity of web stats, but i see the value and i saw an opportunity.

Don’t build a single website to meet all of the individual expectations, provide a platform for all of individuals to create their own experience and providing our services and information are useful and usable and good or even great online experience.

This is how people seem to be using social networks to create an individual view. The public sector can learn a huge amount from this approach.

We first have to get past the need to deliver non -critical information to our citizens but information we are judged on in terms of communications, performance and reputation. Still some work to do, but we have started the journey none the less.