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Links, thoughts and updates from the directors of Dim Sum Digital.

Archive for the ‘twitter’ tag

Things to do before 2011 ends, 3 : Update profiles for  New Year

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This can take more time than it should especially if you’re a compulsive joiner/ tester of new stuff.

I think I’m about there with the major ones but it did get me thinking that an app for that would be good….

One form to fill which has the format for the 140 characters for Twitter, the current, past, summary etc. for LinkedIn, the Facebook status etc. which then distributes directly to each. Anyone?

Written by sarahhartley

December 29th, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Things to do before 2011 ends: 1. Fewer twitter accounts

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The end of the year is always a good opportunity for a bit of a sort out in the blog, social media department so I have a bit of a ‘to do’ list to get through in readiness for a fresh start for 2012.

First up – cut down on the number of twitter accounts to manage. So, I shall stop tweeting @localsarah and instead continue on @foodiesarah. Maintaining a division of twitter activity between things of hyperlocal, community interest and items about journalism became something of a false division in the end.

I’d like to invite all the followers @localsarah to come along on the journey to @foodiesarah as there will be a lot of hyperlocal related activity going on in the New Year as I take on my new responsibilities at Talk About Local.

To start things off I’ve created this list of hyperlocal blogs and websites - if you belong on here, please tweet me.

Written by sarahhartley

December 18th, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Social Media Surgery Richmond: First event

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North Yorkshire organisations turned out to Richmond’s first social media surgery last night.

Held in the tiny village of Hudswell, it was the first rural event of this type I’ve attended and I was interested to see if the issues raised would be different to those encountered by participants at the city-based events I more usually get involved with.

They weren’t.

Ok, people may have had to travel further to attend, but the issues were familiar ones around visibility, measurability and the return on the investment of time spent participating on social media platforms with some hands-on how to assistance.

The format of the evening held at North Yorkshire’s first community run George and Dragon pub (more about that on my other blog) followed what’s become known as the Podnosh structure ie.  A group of volunteers with some experience in social media (surgeons) offering informal advice to organisations looking to maxim ise their online activity.

Personally I only got to speak with two different community organisation representatives – someone interested in promoting wider understanding of the activity of freemasons and the organisers of a local arts festival.

Conversations flowed, contacts were made and a good time was had by all. Organiser Graham Richards tells me that a repeat event will be organised soon. I’ll update this blog when I hear more.

Written by sarahhartley

October 12th, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Radio show features blogger’s Twitter ban

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The case of the blogger who’s been excluded from reporting live from Tameside Council has now been the focus of local radio attention.

Tameside Radio featured the case of Liam Billington (TamesideEye), which I first blogged about at The Guardian on Monday, and have released the following three audio clips – first Liam, then director of the think-tank POLIS, Charlie Beckett gives his reaction, followed by a statement read out on behalf of the council.

1. Twitter – Liam Billington

2. Charlie Beckett’s reaction

3. Tameside Council state their position ………and say they are now considering Liam’s request to tweet.
Broadcaster Andy Hoyle reads the Council’s statement.

As soon as I hear the outcome of that request, I’ll share it here although the wider issue which still stands here is whether the council (or any council) has the right to stop anyone tweeting from a public meeting.

Written by sarahhartley

March 11th, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Tameside Council’s Twitter response


As I’ve blogged at The Guardian today, Tameside Council has started an ‘accreditation’ system for professional journalists who apply to tweet from council meetings.

In the interests of transparency, the full text of the questions I asked and the council’s reply are posted below;

Inquiry to the council first submitted March 1;

I’m looking at how journalists are using Twitter to cover council meetings and am told that you don’t allow this at present. I’d be grateful if you’d give me a little further information on this;

  • First, and most importantly, is it true that the council has banned the use of Twitter during council meetings?

If so,

  • Is this for journalists? Councillors? Members of the public?
  • Does the restriction only apply to Twitter – i.e. can other forms of instant messaging, micro-blogging still be used.
  • What’s the reason for the ban and on what grounds is it made?
  • What steps will be taken to enforce the ban?
  • The reply from the council sent on March 5:

    The Council does not have a specific policy concerning twitter at its meetings but follows the legislation governing the conduct of Council meetings and in particular the recording and transmitting of meetings which are set out in Section 100 (A)(7) of the Local Government Act 1972. Below is a link to relevant part of 1972 Act:

    Under the 1972 Act there is no right to attend a council meeting and make a transmission of the meeting whilst it is taking place, or to make recordings of any meeting, this applies to all Local Authorities.  Therefore the Council is obliged to consider specific requests to use media such as ‘twitter’. Following requests the Council has authorised the Manchester Evening News, Tameside Advertiser and Tameside Reporter to use twitter in each of the Council meetings they have requested to do so, as duly accredited representatives of the press, as defined in the Local Government Act 1972.  Examples of the ‘twitter’ which has taken place at Tameside Council meetings are at the following links:

    As you can see the Council allows the use of ‘twitter’ during Council meetings by duly accredited representatives of the press as part of its commitment to increasing involvement in the democratic process.  Given that the Council does allow duly accredited representatives of the press to use twitter to cover Council meetings I have not addressed your further questions which are based on the assumption that the Council has banned the use of ‘twitter’.

    I’d be interested to hear if any other bloggers have encountered similar issues with access to public meetings.

Written by sarahhartley

March 8th, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Ooops! I’ve been censored


Now I know what it feels like to be moderated. And it feels strange.

In many years of commenting on blogs and websites, I don’t think I’ve ever fallen foul of someone’s social media policy.

I could understand if I’d been ranting, using foul language, making libellous accusations or any number of things that I’ve suspended reader’s comments for on newspaper websites.

But I’m at something of a loss about where I’ve slipped up here by posting the following wording onto this article (using my full name and The Guardian as location);

Hi, am interested to see you feature this story but thought it might be helpful to point out to your readers that the ban did not only apply to councillors, but also to members of the press and public who may have wanted to communicate matters of interest from what was this very important meeting. As you maybe aware from our coverage last week, our own journalist in Leeds, beatblogger John Baron who tweets @GdnLeeds, was also prevented from updating our readers.

Hopefully we can work together to ensure the freedom to cover important events like this in the future.

Revisiting the page, I see that’s been removed and in its place, in very schoolteacher-ish red font, are the words “comment reported unsuitable by user”.

Did I miss the clause in the TsandCs about not joining the conversation and sending messages to fellow journalists over an issue of shared concern?

Written by sarahhartley

March 4th, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Live news from Manchester Mix

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The Manchester Mix site became the centre of a news story in the city this afternoon with live reporting of a bus fire at Piccadilly Gardens.

At the scene,  Josh (@technicalfault on twitter) not only snapped a quick picture but also captured a short audioBoo with a witness.

The Posterous site has been in existence for almost six months and been used to post everything from vouchers to details about upcoming demos or meetings but this is the first venture into live news for the site. Although it doesn’t have to be the last……..

In response to my tweet inquiry earlier this evening, Josh said the easy to update format of the site (contributions can simply be emailed) means more coverage of this sort would be easily achievable.

“Anyone is free to use the Manchester Mix Posterous for news and/or reporting – I see it like a local (edited) noticeboard.

“I haven’t really fleshed it out as an idea – just a bit of a quiet experiment. I do love the ease of the platform though.”

See the full report here.

Written by sarahhartley

January 12th, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Journalists on Twitter: Is it all talk or are you listening?


The value of social networks, and specifically Twitter, in engaging with audiences is something all news organisations want to understand more about, so it was intriguing to hear Newsquest Digital MD Roger Green’s view on this at yesterday’s AOP Microlocal Forum.

Explaining how some of his group’s journalists, and notably Brighton’s Jo Wadsworth, have used Twitter to great effect, Green pointed to statistics around the ratio of followers to followees of individual journalists as a way of displaying their listening prowess.

Jo, unusually, has a higher number of followees (2,346) than followers (2,135) which, Green asserted, meant that she was always listening to the readers.

In a rather pointed criticism of the UK journalists with the large follower numbers (mainly, but not exclusively, at The Guardian), Green contrasted these as examples of people who ‘liked to talk rather than listen’.

Now I’m all for bosses bigging up their staff’s achievements (and in Jo’s case it’s certainly warranted as she does indeed use Twitter very effectively and is very responsive), however, I’m not sure that the follower/followee ratio does actually demonstrate the point Green was seeking to make.

Surely the best way to tell if someone is listening is to see if they reply (and in Jo’s case she does) therefore looking at the number of RTs and @ replies to people would seem to be a more effective measure – something it’s easy to see on the public timeline but I’ve not seen demonstrated in statistical form.

My personal experience is that, once my followee number passed the Dunbar’s number, it became more tricky to effectively monitor all tweets, although the @ and DMs are still, thankfully, manageable and #tags and lists were surely invented to help us all keep track and participate effectively.

I’d be interested to hear how other people measure their activity in this area? Do you compare follower/ee ratios? What is the best measure for engagement? And most importantly,  readers – how do we do?

Written by sarahhartley

December 10th, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Musings on the week: A north-south social media divide?



Inside #1pound40

Two very different experiences this week have had me musing on whether there’s a north-south divide in how social media is used.

Looking first at the #1pound40 event in London. It was an intriguing concept – for just £1.40, the opportunity to share knowledge and ideas with some of the leading lights of the social media UK whirl.

There were Tuttlers, journalists and broadcasters; there were geeks, students and marketing types; the venue was impressive (Reuters in the Daily Planet like environs of Canary Wharf) and the whole event had an air of expectation.

Something was going to happen. SOMETHING IMPORTANT.

So, a couple of days later, why do I still have this niggling feeling that, if something did happen, I must have missed it?

Perhaps this feeling was in part provoked by my experience the night before at Leeds Social Media Surgery.


Leeds surgeons

The surgery was an opportunity for charities and not-for-profits to come and find out about social media and see if it could help them in their work. I spent the evening talking about blogging with a woman who wants to provide the opportunity for interaction via a blog for workers in the mental health sector, as well as hearing about an impassioned campaign to help Palestinians where I was able to offer some basic advice about libel. In this setting, the social media tools were just that – tools to be utilised as part of a wider aim.

Back to London and what was described as ‘a curated unconference’, the purpose of our gathering was to explore issues raised by social media – questions such as if Twitter was a force for good, whether journalism was being democratised by the tools of web 2.0 and my old favourite – who can be called, or call themselves, a journalist?

Unlike other ‘unconference’ events I’ve been to, there were no sessions or pitches and instead small groups at tables discussed the issues between themselves before sharing their individual pithy conclusions via Twitter.

(As an aside, oddly for an event which ended up being monopolised by talk about Twitter, the backchannel wasn’t always in evidence – in fact when it was projected behind the panel at the end of the event it proved to be such a novel intervention that it completely distracted both panelists and audience!)

As the sessions concluded I took stock – had I learned anything? No. Had I contributed to anyone else learning anything? No.

It felt like we were all saying the same thing, speaking the social media speak. The digerati in full flow – agreeing with one another.

Some of the topics touched upon digital inclusion and the potential for political engagement through social media, but while we were talking, tweeting and pontificating, who was actually listening? What do the views of a bunch of always-on wired meeja professionals in London have to do with delivering news and information services to people working in tough but essential spheres such as the mental health sector, or living in areas where broadband access is still an aspiration not a reality?

That’s not to say it wasn’t an enjoyable event – I caught up with some people I haven’t seen in a while, put some faces to Twitter avatars and met some completely new people I’m sure I’ll enjoy following. As a meet-up, it was most conducive.

But all in all, for me at least, it was an afternoon inside the echo chamber, the reverberations of which will probably not even reach Islington, let alone Leeds.

There’s some other coverage of these two events that I’ve seen, as follows;

* The Guardian’s Mercedes Bunz gamely attempted a live blog of #1pound40 here and here.
* Leeds Social Media Surgery organiser John Popham summed up the evening here.
* The echo chamber is one of the topics which Christian Payne (AKA @documentally) also discusses in this audioboo which considered the psychology of Twitter.
* The Business Two Zero blog discusses the £1.40 event and also provides plenty of links to other views from the day.

Leeds gearing up for city’s first social media surgery


Next Tuesday will see the first Social Media Surgery held in Leeds – so what can you expect to find going on?

I spoke with Leeds organiser John Popham about the launch event as well as an old-hand at these surgeries, Nick Booth of Podnosh in Birmingham.

John: ” People were asking me questions about social media things but this has really come about because I was at the first year anniversary of the surgeries in Birmingham which happened about three weeks ago and people were asking why we weren’t doing it in this region.”

So he’s started it!

Nick explains how it’s worked in Birmingham: ” They are aimed at small charities, community groups and active citizens.  They are resolutely informal.  Volunteer surgeons pitch up and we sit them next to people who are trying to make a difference in the places where they live.  They talk to each other, share skills and go perhaps help people set up web tools.  The beneficiaries are welcome to come back time and again to get more help.”

He also offers this recipe to the event.

The Leeds event will be formulated in much the same way and John has already heard that other Yorkshire locations are interested in setting up similar events in Huddersfield, York, Sheffield and Hull so next week’s event could be the first of many.

Sharing some of the experience from Birmingham, Nick says a year of the surgeries in the city have raised awareness in the city about the potential of social media for social good.

“We have also helped to stitch together a few more squares in the patchwork quilt of very, very local blogging. That quilt will, eventually, prove a real democratic asset to the city.  We didn’t keep track of every group that has been helped – because at the beginning it was very informal.  We know of 22 sites we have helped set up – about half of those are still busy.

“We have also helped a lot of people who were already using the web.   We know that the idea has spun off to places as far a field as Sydney, Barcelona and soon South Africa plus surgeries cropping up in a growing number of town/cities in the UK.”

To be in at the start of all this, the Leeds Social Media Surgery is at Round Foundry Media Centre
Foundry Street, Leeds, LS11 5QP from 5.30pm – 7pm on Tuesday, November 10
. Map here.

See you there!

Written by sarahhartley

November 6th, 2009 at 6:50 pm