Tag Archives: civicsurf

US Embassy Blog to answer questions in public

The US Embassy have obviously read page 27 of the CivicSurf booklet headlined “Answer email with your blog.”

This evening they announced via Twitter that they’d set up a new blog to share information based on the emails and calls they receive. It’s really basic stuff. Someone emails or calls the embassy about something because they can’t find the information elsewhere. So publish that information on a Google friendly website AKA a blog. Next time people find without having to call or email. Everyone’s time is saved.

It’s great to see the US Embassy using Social Media tools this way. It’s not clear if this is a rogue experiment coming out of Grosvenor Square or an international thing. Either way it’s great to see.

Stay in touch – RSS and email

There is an old maxim (at least 2 years which is very old for social media) which say email is for work and the web for play.  It is a maxim that I hope is becoming rapidly outdated as more and people within the public sector come to realise the value of the information to their jobs being provided online.

There are three ways to keep in touch with what the CivicSurf project are doing:

  1. Visit this site regularly – once a fortnight might do you, but you might forget
  2. Add the RSS Feed to your subscription list  – Plain English video on what in the world is RSS
  3. Sign up to receive emails whenever we publish something new – click link or use the form top right

The best way is number 2.  It means you won’t miss a thing, you’ll get the information when you want (rather than by an email cluttering your inbox), and you can share it via an intranet or your own blog.  FYI RSS feeds are covered in the CivicSurf Blog Coaching Programme.

CivicSurf Trailer


That’s the first minute of the film. 14 more to follow. We ‘re almost ready to send out copies of the documentary and booklets to Local Authorities and public bodies around the country. The recipient CEOs are invited to show the film to senior officers and members. We’ll also help out with 25 events by arranging for a local blogger to attend and answer any questions about what the reality of blogging is like.

If you would like a DVD copy of the documentary (including 3 booklets), extra booklets or to arrange for us to get a blogger to you then please email.

Libel and Defamation Law for Bloggers

Royal Courts of JusticeIt’s an area all bloggers would rather not get involved in, but it is best to be aware of the principles of libel and how it applies to you as a blogger.  Mike Butcher, has written a very useful and informative guide to Libel and Defamation Law for bloggers.  Read it and bookmark it.

Councillors should of course pay equal attention to the Standards Board Code of Conduct and your own council’s code of conduct.  ICELE produced some useful guidance which you can download.

Council officers might also refer to the Civil Servant social media guidelines recently published by the Cabinet Office.  They are succinct but useful.