An eventful week for the council cabinet and much comment on various blogs, my own thoughts on the appointment of Simon Moores to cabinet member for customer services is that it was a very good decision.
Of the entire Conservative group Simon is one of the most accessible, he always responds communications and is best placed to resolve the councils IT and customer service problems.
My own impression of the councils IT department is that has the problems that many IT departments in large organisations have which is that now most of functions that IT experts were needed to perform 10 years ago can now be performed by pretty much anyone.
Blogs are a case in point, when I first started publishing to the internet it was an expensive slow and difficult business with everything having to be written in a computer code, now anyone with a computer internet connection can use blogger to put up a website. It doesn’t cost them anything and no specialist knowledge is required.
What is even more interesting that as a news website the blog will be a technically better site than all three of our local paper sites and the councils press release site, all of these sites are written by IT experts and I would think most of them realise this.
This is quite simply because Google that runs Blogger have better IT resources than our local papers and council. One of the most difficult aspects of web publishing is to produce feeds that work properly.
The local bloggers that don’t use http://www.blogger.com/ seem to be able to produce post feeds so I am able to add them to the sidebar of this blog and their recent posts appear automatically. None of the local papers not the council press release part of their website have managed to archive this yet.
None of the local bloggers that don’t use http://www.blogger.com/ to have managed to produce comment feeds so that I can add them to http://thanetblogs.blogspot.com/ and keep up to date with the comments on them.
Now the obvious question here is why don’t the papers and council IT experts just put a http://www.blogger.com/ hosted blog in a frame on their website and let the journalists and the council press officers contribute to it directly?
I have just done this on my http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/ website see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/blogpicts2/id100.htm
I believe the answer to this question is, what on earth would the IT officer who at the moment is taking anything up to 10 days to put up council press releases, do with his time if the press officers could put them immediately, as I do here when they send them to me.
Of course they would have to explain the blogger bar but I believe people would happily accept this knowing it was saving them money and getting the press releases up in a timely manner.
Virtually every council press release comes with a photograph and they are very good indeed very occasionally they send me the photograph and I publish it with the press release.
These photographs recording life in Thanet don’t appear to appear on the council website, apart from as very short lived thumbnails on their homepage, http://www.thanet.gov.uk/Default.aspx it really is quite extraordinary that on the one hand the council should be paying for the photographs and on the other hiding them.