Posts Tagged ‘ teacamp ’

Teacamp tomorrow afternoon

Quick reminder that its the regular teacamp get-together tomorrow afternoon from 2pm to 4pm in Cafe Zest (which is on the top floor of House of Fraser in Victoria Street, London) for government web type people.

I missed the last one, and only floated around the last few due to pressure of work, but I am conscious that we are almost at the beginning of the summer holiday season, so it would be great to see as many of you there tomorrow as possible.

I know that some are coming along to have a natter about how we can turn Digital People from a name and an idea into something real and worthwhile. But whatever is on your mind, come along for a cup of tea or coffee and a chat with like minded souls.

Reminder: teacamp this Thursday (19th)

I don’t often post announcements about the teacamps here, but at the last event somebody asked me to do so.

Teacamp is an informal get together of people interested in government web and other online shenanigans. There’s no membership list, no agenda, no obligation to hang around (or even turn up). It’s simply an opportunity to meet other people working on (or interested in) government websites, intranets or other digital/web things. Its a great way to find an expert, discuss a problem or just meet others doing what you do.

If you’re interested, we meet in Cafe Zest, on the top floor of House of Fraser in Victoria Street between 2pm and 4pm. Pop in for half an hour, grab a coffee and chew the fat with us.

There are various websites and services we use to communicate information about the teacamps. One of them is here: http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/691145

There is no obligation to sign up to attend, just roll up whenever it suits you.

Where do government webbies fit into e-government?

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the group, or community, of people within government who manage websites, intranets, blogs, wikis and other digital communications channels.

There aren’t that many of us around considering what we actually do.

We’re also not very good at organising ourselves so consequently we don’t have the representation we need – we and our work are often overshadowed by other groups who have louder voices and / or are better organised.

Its one of the reasons why I set up the barcamp and, subsequently am trying to make the afternoon tea gatherings regular events (described by David today as ‘Teacamp’ – I quite like that) – so that we could get to know each other better and start to interact as a group of similar interests. Not just civil servants, but the people on the periphary or outside who can assist us in making what we do better.

This problem of relative obscurity has been highlighted to me over the last few days. Downing Street launched a twitter feed, a great idea and a good example of low cost piloting to test the value of an emerging digital channel.

But coverage has focused on the fact that ‘Gordon Brown is now on Twitter’ – he’s not its Downing Street that runs the feed, not the Prime Minister (in fact, he is sort of, but that is by the by).

This illustrates for me the problem of our role and profile in egovernment and the challenges that face us both day to day and in the longer term.

We’re not IT, we’re not e-democracy, and we’re not politics online. Each of these groups are important to us, and we need to work with them, but them we ain’t.

But some people do think that one or more of these are what we do – hence the confusion over the ownership of the Downing Street twitter feed.

The IT profession in government is a powerful group – they provide both the infrastructure and the applications that help us deliver procurement big contracts. They’re well organised (they did invent Prince 2 after all) and have senior representation in most government departments.

The e-democracy crowd are also quite a well self-organised group – academics, social hackers etc who have an important role in challenging government to do better in its interactions with citizens.

Then there’s politics online – the parties, representatives and the bloggers. They obviously make a lot of noise, and gain exposure for what they do.

We are none of them – not partisan or political, not technical, not edemocracy.

It strikes me we need a voice to represent us and plug us into these other groups somewhere closer to the top of the pyramid. Perhaps COI’s Digital People will draw us together. Perhaps Tom is that person?

Somehow we need to draw ourselves together – the people around government who are really passionate about improving the way government conducts itself online – and speak as a group.