On Sunday I went to Blue Light Camp – the unconference for people working within the emergency services (Disclosure – I work for the Police at the moment).
I want to do a proper write-up of the whole event but, while I am thinking that through, there are some quicky things that I want to jot down. So this is very much a braindump of stuff I was thinking about during the day (and since).
- At the beginning of the day we were asked to introduce ourselves and explain what we wanted to get out of the event in three words. My three words were: “Meet my Twitter Heroes” (OK, on paper it is four words, but “meetmy” was one word). MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! I actually got to chat with @NickKeane, @beaker9, @bailey9799, @SashaTaylor, @SamOnTheWeb, @PigsOnTheWing and @SC2221. Plus I found a whole load of new Twitter heroes – @JohnPopham, @IslandGovCamp (Who wasn’t there, but took part nevertheless), @SarahKateNorman (who is confusingly called Kate in real life), @BridgetAhern and @FlyGirlTwo. Also Isaac, who told me he would join Twitter as a result of attending Blue Light Camp (but hasn’t yet as far as I can see!). Even just being in a room with @DanSlee, @LeSteph, @AmandaComms and many others was pretty cool!
- I have been to quite a few unconferences now, and I still haven’t worked out the best way to “record” them. I have tried live blogging into PowerPoint, I have tried using a LiveScribe Smartpen, I have tried sending lots of tweets (kinda works), I have tried good-old-fashioned pen and paper. Tweeting seemed to work, except I found it harder to take part “in the room”. Also, because I was using Tweetchat.com to tweet (so I didn’t forget the hashtag) I didn’t see all the replies I got during the day (apologies to anyone – esp @IslandGovCamp – who replied to me during the day).
- Taking a multi-way extension lead will make you lots of friends (but only once people’s batteries start to die!)
- My Motorola Atrix (with full size bluetooth keyboard) is an awesome piece of kit for tweeting quickly – although one of the keyboard buttons fell off in my rucksack on the way home (grrr).
- I realised that there are (at least) three different types of Twitter search I regularly need to do – and I need different tools to do each one:
- Instant Hit – what is happening NOW? When an incident is in progress, what is the latest information (latest tweets). I tend to do this with Twitterfall, or Twitter’s own advanced search.
- What happened there? After an incident, as part of the washup, it is useful to have a copy of all the tweets around a particular search term. I tend to do this with Tweetreach.com, which helpfully archives up to 15000 tweets on a given subject (though you have to pay for it).
- Reputation Management/Identifying Emerging Trends I have a number of searches that are constantly running (the name of the Police Force I work for, for instance). These allow me to see over time how the reputation of the organisation ebbs and flows. The related idea (which lots of people are striving for but no-one seems to have completely cracked yet) is spotting “unexpected burstage” – that is knowing what a “normal” level of tweets for any given subject is, and then receiving an alert whenever the number of tweets for that search exceed normal tolerance. This is similar to spotting extremely local trends (assuming that your search includes placenames). CrowdControlHQ has a tool that looks as if it can do this, but I have not yet got my head around using it properly.
In particular, I work for a force which encourages neighbourhood officers to tweet their location, and what they are doing. This is visible policing in the 21st century (don’t worry, there are still plenty of officers who can’t be seen on twitter!). As a PCC, or member of the public, this information will build up to a deployment map. Will a PCC avoid the temptation to ask why a particular place is not being visited regularly by police officers? I think it unlikely (especially if that is a marginal area for votes for them). This leads me to the next point:
BBM being used to organise the London riots – who saw that one coming?!
I hope to blog some more coherent thoughts at some point soon, but as @MattHeeley said (paraphrased) “It is better to blog a rough draft, than to have a rough draft sat waiting to be published”.