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Showing posts from November, 2013

How to reduce visits to your website

Ten years ago, a general view of local governments' websites was bigger is better. "We've only got 2,000 pages on our site; you've got 5,000? Brilliant!", I remember conversations at conferences going.

Today however it's widely accepted that some local government's websites are almost impenetrable fortresses of content, not just through incomprehensible language but because of the sheer number of pages one has to sift through to find pertinent information.

The LocalGov Digital Content Standards seek to help put this right, and these days participants in unconference conversations are more likely to take the view that it's better to have the minimum number of pages needed to do the task of delivering information and services.

So what's this change in best practice for local governments' websites got to do with the number of visits?

Most local governments now have some sort of Channel Shift programme in place, which seeks to direct as many user…

An emergency tweetcast network

This week we had an incident on one of the trunk roads in our area. Fortunately there were no fatalities, but the road was closed in both directions for a few hours.

The incident happened around 6.45am and TVP Roads Policing tweeted about it. Ideally partner organisations would have someone monitoring Twitter and have re-tweeted it, but often it simply isn't possible to have dedicated members of staff to do this, around the clock.

So this got me thinking, could I build something to the task?

I was reminded of films, where in a civil emergency, radio and television becomes one broadcast network. Could something be done along similar lines with Twitter? I started to build a proof of concept and surprisingly, in a short space of time it was finished. So how does it work?

Firstly, (this is the technical mumbo-jumbo) set the code up with your OAuth application authentication and then get it to run at scheduled times, ideally every couple of minutes. Even running the code this frequentl…