Carrie, who heads the GOV.UK blog platform, recently wrote a post that provides a bit of an insight into the GDS approach to blogging. It is an interesting read and well worth a look. It shows a level of, I guess, discipline in how they handle things – I am sure it makes their Press Office much more comfortable with it all and given the level of scrutiny GDS are under I am sure it reassures people.
There has always been an unusual level of ‘professionalism’ about the blogging at GDS. The fact they have essentially had ‘ghost bloggers‘ in place since the early days has always seemed a little odd to me. Something about an intermediary crafting blog posts on behalf of others just seems against the spirit of blogging to me – but maybe I am old fashioned (heh..maybe!)
I love that GDS blog to the extent they do. I have written before how proud I still am of setting up the JISC Involve blog platform back in 2007 so I totally believe in the idea of using blogs to open things up and I have learned a huge amount over the last few years from the GOV.UK blogs – especially helpful to me due to my distaste for visiting London.
I guess I still primarily see blogging as an opportunity to think out loud and to learn (and share) your lessons in public. I set up the ONS Digital blog within weeks of starting – it is just on WordPress.com like this blog and like this one it is my Paypal account paying for the ‘premium’ services. I encourage everyone in the team to write and quite a few people have contributed over the last couple of years – even if I still write the majority of the posts. There is no strategy, no editorial calendar, certainly no videos. I am more interested in members of the team finding their voice and becoming confident enough to contribute than some wider objective. There are of course informal ‘guidelines’ — I trust the team but I’m not stupid.
I blog because I enjoy it and it allows me to share the ups and downs of our work. Hopefully doing that changes some peoples perception but honestly that is a side benefit.
I have on one occasion (massively) misjudged the tone for a particular post that caused some consternation and needing resolving but otherwise we have quietly built a small, but loyal, audience without the need to make it in to a big production.
There is no doubt the blog would benefit from a bit of sub-editing (Laura, the boss, would agree!) but I usually rely on the ‘many-eyes’ principle – someone usually spots a mistake in minutes & then it gets fixed…it is the web after all – not print.
So I will continue to rather haphazardly blog away mindless of any grand design – happy in the knowledge that variety is the spice of life. So GDS can continue to carefully craft their content and I’ll continue to chaotically contribute to our blog 😀