Tag Archives: social software

Huddle Gov Muddle

Huddle make some great collaboration software. I first met Alastair and Andy at Open Coffee more than a year ago and they’re very nice chaps. I’m also a fan of Mike Butcher. But when I read Mike’s piece on Huddle’s study of opinions of “public sector workers” I hoped that he’d just skimmed the press release badly and regurgitated it without thinking too much – entirely understandable – it’s nearly holiday time.

However the press release is available on the Huddle site too. Though the actual study and important details of methodology are not, we are told that it’s the result of talking to 202 local authority officials a few weeks ago.

My gripes are:

  • The use of “public sector workers” to describe the study sample as in “more than half of public sector workers (52%) are disappointed with lack of innovation in IT services”. No. More than half of the officials asked maybe, but 202 people in local government are not necessarily representative of the public sector as a whole.
  • Government with a capital G usually means central government and the executive in particular “One third (32.5%) believe the Government’s IT problems could be solved by buying from local, UK-based companies” So were these local government people asked about the Government’s IT purchasing policy or their own?
  • The confusion of unwillingness to adopt social software in local government with Central Government IT overspends.
  • No details of what sorts of local government officials these were – either in terms of service area or in terms of seniority or responsibility for decision making.
  • An assumption that IT departments are the problem – is there evidence that those authorities that have banned Facebook have done so entirely on the say so of IT? Surely it’s more complex than that?

I want to make it clear that I’m sure I probably agree with most of the findings of this report and other people would find some clear facts about staff opinions in this area valuable , it’s the sloppy reporting that I find annoying – can someone who actually knows something about the subject give us a decent summary?

Videoblog Masterclass – Using video as a social technology

I am the master
I thought I’d write about the stuff I took to my videoblogging masterclass last week. I’d like to repeat the process with other clients – and maybe a public one – it worked well in a small group of communications specialists and people from lines of business. I’d have liked to have done it all more openly too, but one of the requirements from the client was that everything was kept private (it was part of an internal conference on risk management)

I started with my background in social media as a whole and how I’ve been thinking about it helping internal communications and knowledge management for as long as I’ve been blogging.

Then I took a look at the technology. I started with the obvious – get a DV camera, point it at someone and record what they’re saying. I then showed how to simply take that footage, edit it quickly using Windows Movie Maker, add a title and some credits and create a movie file. I think this is simple now and there are tutorials all over the web, but I forgot how complicated it can seem if you’ve never seen it before.

Then I looked at video clips as conversations, using seesmic as an example. We looked at some conversations and saw how being informal helps to convey more information. I talked about how the community had grown up and about my experience of meeting and building relationships with people I’d known about before, but never got to know properly until we “met” on seesmic.

And finally we looked at mobile video – briefly touching on using your phone to record files, edit and transfer to the web like this master, but focusing mainly on live streaming, using qik as an example. I’m very grateful to Jackie at qik for shipping me an N82 so that I could demo this properly (and I seem to have really gotten the bug since then!) I’m not sure that the whole group in the class fully understood what was going on but one or two were gobsmacked and very excited by the potential of this.

We spent the second half of the morning talking about the cultural impact of doing this sort of thing, the risks involved and the kinds of practical applications that they could envisage. And then (oh noes!) we got onto why any use of video would be difficult (read “nigh on impossible”) in their current IT environment. This also led onto an interesting discussion about broadcast versus narrowcast and an understanding that not everything that gets published needs to be accessed by everybody else.

So yeah, give me more of these please.