Well, blow me. I’ve just noticed I’ve been blogging for 10 years.
So, I’ve been looking back.
I started when social media in the public sector was new there was a group of us looking to try and get our heads around it. It was by Twitter, unconferences and blogs that we worked it out.
Then, I blogged weekly sitting at the dining table late at night at the end of the working day. I’d listen to a Canadian krautrock band called Holy Fuck. Now I write in my own office or on the move and it is the working day.
Each blog I write is a digital post-it note to store for future reference. Some have been read by tens of thousands and some less than a dozen. Both are fine.
As time has evolved, blogging has changed. In my first year, 1,801 people came to my blog and Twitter was the most significant referer. In my 10th year, 72,000 came and search engines were how people found me most. Everything I now do comes directly or indirectly from blogging.
It may be quite an old school thing to do, to write and then post but I find it hugely cathartic to work things out in writing instead of by talking about them. That’s not for everyone, I know.
10 blogs I wrote that I’m proud of
“And so it came to pass that Conservative MP Rory Stewart spent time in the Conservative leadership campaign doing a lot of walking and listening.
“For me, there are two purposes for the corporate and the devolved non-corporate. The corporate can put out the central messages. It should be a Match of the Day highlights show sharing the best of the rest. It should be human. The comms team can set the direction. It can deliver the training. But the non-corporate team, service area or individual accounts are where the real gold will be found. So have both.”
“What is human comms? You’ll recognise it if you see it. It’s engaging and it connects. Sometimes it delivers a message. Sometimes it just works to show that human beings also work in an organisation, too.”
“It’s astounding the number of people playing fast and loose with their organisation’s Facebook pages. How? By allowing or even encouraging staff create second profiles to be admin.”
“So, what is the difference was between journalism and PR? I’ve stopped and asked myself the question this week. I’ve been thinking of how to explain the difference.
“For 12-years I was a journalist and rose to become assistant chief reporter of a daily regional newspaper. Back then I would have told you that the difference was news was everything they don’t want you to know. The rest is PR, I’d have said.”
He buys me a pint and after we take a drink he tells me he’s doing to tell me something really important. He levels with me and I’m expecting some tips on how to chat up women. Or at the very least play cricket better. He leans across the table.
“Dan,” he says, “the best advice I can give you in life is never argue with an idiot. You end up on the same level and to a passer-by it’s just two idiots arguing.”
He said: “My generation of the Web 3.O PR will be a digitally native team with skills… yes there will be the specialists, but I’ll be the cost effective one, the one who will build your campaign, take the photos, make the videos, stick it on a web site, tweet about it and get your brand the press attention you want.
“The future is diverse, and the industry needs people who can adapt and change across all platforms, digital and otherwise.”
As never before local government needs to shout what it does from the roof tops. In a 24-hour experiment colleagues across Walsall Council on March 3 aim to do just that. This is the first time in UK local government – and possibly the world – someone has tried something on this scale.
As I watched a tear run down my grandpa’s face I realised the First World War hadn’t ended. This proud man with clipped military moustache and silver hair sat in a chair across from front of me.
This was 20 years ago. I was a teenager and had been ushered in slightly reluctantly to talk to him on one of his visits. We chatted awkwardly for a while. I’m not sure how it came up but he started to recall what happened in 1916 when his father died 70 years before.
Channel 4 news reader Jon Snow apparently once told a Local Government conference: ‘The trouble with you lot is this. You do wonderful things. You’re just a bit boring.’
As an ice breaker it’s bold. Trouble is, he’s right. Partly. Councils deal with people. They help them in all sorts of ways with 800 services – many of them amazing. But how do you give them a human face? That’s where Twitter can work brilliantly for councils.