Public sector blogging in Scotland

[NB. Cross posted from my own blog at http://mea-mea-culpa.blogspot.com]

I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this you think that people blogging about their work is a GOOD THING. And possibly also that blogging AT WORK about more personal stuff is also a GOOD THING. If, however, you’re not convinced, have a read of this and this.  And if you’re still not convinced – why on earth are you reading this blog?!

I’ve been blogging about my work (with the occasional post about more personal stuff) for about four years now. I’m still not very good at it, but I think the fact that I’m doing it at all is a GOOD THING. For me, even if it’s not for anyone else. And for me other people blogging about their work in the public sector has been a VERY GOOD THING – I’ve learnt a hell of a lot from the blogs I read.

Because it’s a GOOD THING we need more folk doing it. There are some very good blogs with a public sector focus written in Scotland. Here are some that I’m aware of – in no particular order (and with apologies to any I’ve missed out):

But we can do better!  So I’ve being having a think about how we might get more public sector folk in Scotland blogging. (And I’m talking here about blogging outside the walled garden of the Communities of Practice space – lovely though that garden is.)

Blogger extraordinaire Mr Dave Briggs recently wrote a post about Public Sector Bloggers, which aggregates content from UK public sector blogs (very few are written this side of the border), and mentioned it’s growing unwieldiness (cos of the increase in blogs). Suggestions for the future development of the site include better categorisation and the addition of blogging guidance.

But…I’m wondering if a Public Sector Bloggers type resource specifically for Scotland/Scottish bloggers would be something worth developing?

What do you think?  Would existing Scottish public sector bloggers be keen to have their posts aggregated in this way?  Would it be a useful resource for encouraging people to blog?  Or could we just make more of the existing Public Sector Bloggers site?

I’d also be interested in suggestions for other ways to encourage more blogging in the public sector in Scotland.

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8 thoughts on “Public sector blogging in Scotland

  1. […] thought is about encouraging public sector workers in Scotland to blog more, prompted by this excellent post by Lesley. For me there are a number of obstacles to blogging: workload, worry over what is allowed and what […]

  2. May I make a suggestion? Perhaps if some of the major national cultural institutions blogged, it might encourage others?
    The National Galleries of Scotland, the National Museums Scotland and the National Library of Scotland spring to mind. They do have online presence, of course – most using Twitter and Facebook – and the National Library of Scotland does have several blogs on specific topics.

    There could be value in their each having a general blog also that does a piece once a month or once a fortnight that highlights one aspect of their work: someone from front-of-house services writing about the everyday tasks and issues, conservators writing about a day in their working lives, education staff giving some insight on the planning of a new resource for schools etc – or they could even invite the people who use their services to do a guest post about that experience.

    Naturally, I am concerned with encouraging the engagement between cultural institutions and the public. People appreciate better such public organisations if they know more about the work behind the scenes. It would provide useful information for those considering careers in such fields. Provided in a way that encourages sharing that blog with others (through RSS feeds, buttons for one-click sharing via social networking sites), the work of the cultural institutions in Scotland would spread faster and to more people.

    If other public organisations see that the national cultural institutions do it, provide interesting information about their everyday work, & receive mostly very positive feedback, it should encourage them…hopefully. Such posts need not be onerous (especially when shared between many) – and including pictures and not too much text in long paragraphs works well.

  3. Roger White says:

    Lesley – hi. Yes, I think the idea is a great one in principle. I don’t know about the practicalities because I lack the technical knowledge. I guess others (you?!) might have that. I also guess the more a site could be self-sustaining following development the better for all concerned. My other thoughts are:

    1. it should take a broad and eclectic view of the public sector, not only because I would not thereby be excluded (plug – http://helpgov.wordpress.com/) but because much of the interesting insight in the blogosphere comes from the personal, informal fringe rather than the formal record of large public bodies

    2. I note that Dave B’s UK listing in fact seems to have no Scottish blogs (I think) – not a criticism, the guy does enough, but suggesting that you’re right, there is a gap to fill

    3. I also suspect that DB’s list is far from complete and not very actively updated. That would be a challenge but obviously only about 10% (pro-rata’ing populations etc) of what his UK listing faces. On the other hand a much smaller potential list of bloggers would mean that a Scottish site’s less likely to grow uncontrollably in size

    4. as a blogger I would not feel threatened by being included. On the contrary. All bloggers want to be read and to drive traffic to their blogs and this would be another means to do so.

    Good luck if you go ahead/can persuade others to.

  4. lelil says:

    Thanks Roger…I’m wondering if this might be a candidate for a session at ScotGovCamp2?

  5. I’d offer several observations:

    1). The relative low levels of blogging in and around public sector activities is, unfortunately, in line with Scotland’s generally lower levels of blogging activity in almost any field;

    2). I believe that there is much work still to be done in a much broader context around what public service agencies want to do (want to permit to be done?) around the whole social media spectrum. There is no lack of individual enthusiasts in Scotland’s public services; some of whom with much competency in social media. That was clearly demonstrated with Dave Briggs and the Learning Pool’s excellent workshop in the COSLA centre a few months back. I suggest that this underscores my point that there is more substantial work to be done within and across the agencies to make things possible (permitted?). This especially applies at the highest level of management (and of course the HUB report on social media and public services was not exactly inspiring on that front);

    3) But maybe the really critical challenge lies around what the boundaries are to be in ‘public sector’ blogging, social media etc? The catastrophies and costs of: the credit crunch; bank rescues financed by the public sector; and the deflationary policies of the UK Coalition Government, all combine to ensure that co-production, out-sourcing, third sector delivery and community engagement to an extent thus far undreamed of will be essential to the very existence of many public services. In that scenario, it will be essential to be clear, strategically and operationally, on the issues of: what audiences you are engaging with; who your recognised participants are; and what domains you are contending in and with.

    Sounds a lot to expect bloggers to take on all themselves 😉

  6. lelil says:

    I’ve started a wiki in the Scotland Web2 Community of Practice http://www.communities.idea.gov.uk/c/849589/wiki/wiki-display.do?id=11325041 to capture current bloggers. Please feel free to add in any others.

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