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Handsworth, Lozells and Social Media, twitter and hashtags.

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On Saturday I popped up to Handsworth for a community consultation event.
John Heaven, a social media savvy council officer, was there live blogging with this wordpress site that he created literally as the event started.  John and I also tweeted the event (using different tags – doh) and you can find the streams for the event  here and for Handsworth in general here.

If you’re not sure what a hashtag is there is a complicated explication on wikipedia here or put simply its a label than any of us can use on twitter to mark that we are talking about the same subject.  When used in a search of twitter the tag then brings together every thing everyone has said about that subject.

It also helps those not in the room watch and join the conversation. So as we twittered about Handsworth from  a meeting room in the neighbourhood, observations were added from other parts of the city or country by David Nikel, Leonardo Morgado, Andy Mabbett, Cyberdoyle and Carrie Bishop.

Carrie even pointed to a new service she has helped create to allow the public to reflect their opinions of police service called MyPolice.org.

So  social media has helped:

  1. Create a simple and immediate record of the meeting
  2. Bring new attention to what is going on
  3. Add the possibility of fresh ideas, input and questioning.

Non of this was planned – John and I just got on with it because we could.  My heart warmed at John getting on with it, with the encouragement of Director of Constituencies Ifor Jones.

Why was I there?  I want to meet some people who could help me set up a very local social media surgery for the area.  More on that soon.

This was also published on my other blog.

4 Responses to “Handsworth, Lozells and Social Media, twitter and hashtags.”

  1. Just when I’m getting accustomed to using FixMyStreet and WritetoThem and because of Iran come round to Twitter I come across this whole universe that’s outside my zone. I worried there’s going to be too much of a gap between those who can and those who can’t – with me among the latter.

    • Nick Booth says:

      Don’t worry about the perceived gap. People use what is useful. They pick up new tools because they make sense to them.

      In this particular case and time the tools are not hugely useful, because few people in the networks around the consultation are using them. When more are that will amplify their usefulness – so they’ll make more sense and turn from a potential chore into an asset.

  2. Andy Mabbett says:

    Thanks for the hat-tip, Nick. Though, in this case, my participation was minimal, by an odd coincidence, I wrote the Wikipedia entry on hash-tags which you cite.

    Another co-incidence is that I’ll be talking about tagging, including the issue of people using disparate tags for the same topic, at this afternoon’s Moseley Barcamp. Thanks for providing an example; see you there!

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