When it comes to Facebook to be honest the whole thing is a bit of a mystery to me, with my own facebook site and after some difficulty, all I do is connect it to this blog so that what I post here shows there automatically.
I just don’t have time for more internet sites and have stuck with blogger as it is easy to use, particularly for people who want to comment without having to fill in some online form.
What the council do on the internet is a bit different though for a number of reasons, the most pertinent being that all of us council taxpayers contribute to the cost and so there is a sense that the councils efforts to publish information on the internet represents all of us.
As far as I can see when it comes to facebook the council have tried to do something similar to what I do with my blog posts with their press releases, the underlying problem for the council is that when it comes to IT they seem to take the approach that they know better than anyone else, and can solve problems by throwing our money at them.
At the moment the council publish their press releases like a bog with comments disallowed, see http://www.thanet.gov.uk/news/latest_press_releases.aspx and this part of the council’s website is supposed to feed to other websites, like a blog does. If the council’s feeds worked properly, every time they added a press release their facebook page would update, people who subscribe to the council’s press releases would receive a new press release and just like blogger other local internet sites would receive the feed and an updated link would go to the top of the list.
To explain this in a bit more detail, when the other local bloggers, Tony, Simon, Don, Peter and so on write a new blog post it pops up on the top of my sidebar and people like you who read the local blogs, notice this and go there to read what they have written.
The problem is though that the council’s feeds don’t work properly, now a simple solution to this would be for the council to use a blog with the comments disallowed, blogger is very versatile and you can use a a blog with all of the complicated and expensive add-ons like feeds and free image publication without it showing to the blog readers, Thanet Waves does this see http://www.thanetwaves.co.uk/
For a number of years now I have been trying to get the council to solve these problems by just embedding a blog in their website and putting their press releases with the associated images, all something that we pay for.
Over this period of time I have had various answers from the council about why their feeds don’t feed properly, the latest being that this is because of a fault with Google, obviously as the don’t feed properly to facebook either this just doesn’t make sense.
As a sort of temporary solution to this problem I have put the new council information that I can fairly easily manually extrapolate from their website and their press releases onto the internet for them. See http://thanetpress.blogspot.com/ I don’t think the council like this very much and there have been some efforts by them to make doing this difficult for me. Apart from a short period of time when they took me off of their press release email list I have done this consistently for the last two years.
So here is their facebook wall http://www.facebook.com/pages/Thanet-District-Council/83700846372?sk=wall showing a press release they published on 12.10.2011 with a link to The Thanet Anthem http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=am4T7QbQm3w
This would be funny it we weren’t paying for it.