Blogs are boring. In the Clay Shirky sense. Even in government.
Pitching a blog to your managers in council may still cause consternation, but most authorities are at least working towards a ‘social media strategy’ or ‘policy’ – the human equivalent of dogs turning circles before laying down – and blogs are mainstream. Your senior staff have probably read one, even if it’s just part of a newspaper website. Even better, there is now a considerable range of practice and evaluation on which to draw.
One of the best implementations is FCO Bloggers from the the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office blog
Stephen Hale, Head of Engagement, Digital Diplomacy, has spoken openly about the process since its inception and this very generous post – Evaluating our blogs – is a must.
Our advice isn’t the same for every blogger, but we are using our findings to encourage our bloggers to be personal (say things that only they could say), real time (if it takes days to draft or check the facts then it’s probably not a blog), integrated (with other things they’re doing on and offline), responsive (responding to comments), and targeted (writing about things that people are already talking about online).
The advice is based on real-world experience and web metrics. From a large government department. With staff around the world.
I would also point you to The benefits of blogging by Julia Chandler and Simon Davis from the Online Content team at DFID Bloggers, a similar staff blog portal from the UK Department for International Development.
Having said that blogs are mundane, there are still not many examples of blogs written by local government officers (as opposed to councillors or community activists). Here are a few to illustrate to senior staff and prospective bloggers what a blog can be:
(If you know of other blogs by local authorities, please leave a comment.)
Gallereries and museums offer great examples of how and what to blog. See Brooklyn Museum bloggers, MoMA’s Inside/Out, the blog of the National Media Museum, Bradford and the Powerhouse Museum’s Photo of the Day.
Council blogs will change the way we communicate with residents. Read Stephen Hale’s piece. And do it well.
Penrith Valley – Penrith Valley is an official blog of Penrith City Council. It is written by City Marketing and other Council staff.
General Manager's BlogSpot – Pittwater Council