As explained in an earlier post the Hedon Blogger attended Talk About Local in Stoke on Saturday 3rd October. The event was aimed at those who make hyperlocal community websites and blogs happen.
It was indeed an inspiring event and I’m still feeling the buzz now. But what exactly have I brought back with me in terms of ideas to improve the Hedon Blog and contribute more effectively towards the town itself:
Sense of Solidarity – I no longer feel the same sense of isolation as before. I now know that hundreds of community activists like me are trying to make things work better in communities through using new internet tools. I now feel I am part of a mutual support network.
More Hedon Bloggers! – I need to renew my efforts to get more local people involved. Even the small village blog of PARWICH.ORG has six volunteers to share the work, while the mighty Pits’n’Pots in Stoke must surely have dozens of people involved to generate and manage the massive amount of comments and input that they generate from residents.
Good Content! – The Hedon Blog is not flashy. It comprises of completely free software and applications. Not one item on the Hedon Blog has been paid for. One of the Blog aims is to use programs that anyone can use – and encourage people and communities to use them as well. There are limitations to the software and more attractive sites can certainly be found elsewhere and everywhere on the web. It may be that a future Hedon Bloggers group decides to create a more ‘professional’ site to better carry-on its work.
But no matter what a site looks like – it must have good content that is relevant to its readers. Local people will visit the site repeatedly if they know that what they find will be useful, interesting and written in a lively style…..
So… I hear you say…. the Hedon Blog has still got a long way to go then! Yes indeed! But comfort can be taken in the fact that a problem has been recognised and efforts are being made to improve things.
It is hoped that we can attract more local people to become Blog Authors and Editors. Also let’s invite others, who are perhaps more well-known, to write occasional guest posts and features.
On the practical side the Hedon Blog can follow others in developing better ways for people to post information about WHAT’S ON in the town. Also local WHITE PAGES of useful traders and services seem to have gone down well in other blogs.
A vision for the Blog – I like the idea of linking up the development of the Hedon Blog with the regeneration of the town itself. Hedon folk have lots of ambition for the town but that never seems to be reflected anywhere of strategic importance. The only time that the town gets roused is “against” something i.e. an incinerator, industrial smells, flooding threats, etc, etc.
One approach in the village of Whitechapel has been to develop a wish-list of improvements – I like that idea; let’s get people motivated by what constructive and useful things they can do for the town.
A wish-list can be turned into a priority list and actions can be agreed to make some of those ‘wishes’ come true.
Social by Social – Ten copies of the book Social by Social whose authors include David Wilcox were given away by the organisers to Hyperlocal blogs that might be able to use them and share the contents and learning. The Hedon Blogger is delighted to have received one of these.