Guest Post by Catherine Howe (@curiousc)

Just blogging a quick 20 pointer (HT @Danslee) after a great weekend at BluelightCamp. I have blogged the network of networks here so this is a more general write up.

Thank yous

  1. Thank you Sasha, Mark and Clare , Angus and Simon for a fab event. Really interesting mix of people and as ever with these things lots and lots of interesting discussions.
  2. Extra thanks to Sasha who is a complete star in creating and supporting all kinds of unconferences
  3. There are huge benefits just from being in the same room as people you interact with on twitter – really adds to the richness of those online interactions.

Research questions

  1. The question of anonymous tweeting and blogging by police officers is a complex one – and one which I think needs some systematic study in order to understand what it might be telling us. I’d like to start this by trying to measure whether the volume of this activity is (as it seems) greater from the Police than other public sector organisations.  If this is the case then I think I would start with a review of some of the sites and then try to do some interviews.  If this is work someone else is already doing then can someone point me at it?
  2. The Network of Network idea is intriguing other people as well and there are a number of ways of addressing it – I need to remember that we start testing things and keep the thinking open
  3. Its interesting to see how different people react to an idea like that – the range from ‘create a database’ to ‘let it sort itself out’. In trying to design something we are undoubtably trying to impose our world view on people – but I am ok with that as long as we are transparent about it and open to new ideas.
  4. I would like to get involved in the discussions about the ethics of open data in terms of its commercial use but also with respect to how it can effect the public/private data choices that people make
  5. We may be destined to keep trying to build big platforms if we don’t start engaging with standards, formats and underlying architecture – I am not sure this is a good thing
  6. Can we talk about crowdsourcing without understanding the nature of the relationship we have with that crowd?  Sorry, that one is rather gnomic but I have heard a few references to crowdsourcing and I think we need to take a social rather than a big data view of this – might blog more on this another time.

What is the future of social media and policing?

  1. It can’t be a coincidence that I keep coming across this question
  2. I think we need to do something to join up and capture the learning that is already in the sector – to ‘normalise’ some of the social media stuff so that it is repeatable by forces who may not yet have taken the plunge in the same way
  3. If we do this then we have to make sure that people understand the way these things actually work – that they are not simply blindly copying
  4. We need to be build confidence in social media use – this means some kind of shared discussion about evidence
  5. When I say we need to start taking social media more seriously it is a reference to the need for this kind of systematic evidence gathering that I am not yet seeing happening. We are good at collecting best practice but I am not seeing the accompanying evidence base – please can someone tell me if I am wrong!
  6. My suggestion: start by making sure that the leadership of any organisation is considering their relationship with the public in terms of being networked and digital and is considering what this means.  Then connect them to the skills and information they need to translate this into action in the organisation.

Random stuff

  1. @huxley06 is excellent company even if she does think its ok to combine lime marmalade and peanut butter on toast.
  2. Decent wifi makes a HUGE difference
  3. Coleslaw has no place in a tortilla
  4. Collaboration and shared data requires a deeper discussion about decision making protocols when you are considering this in real time
  5. I talk too much – I really need to be better at listening – apologies to anyone else who came to the same conclusion
20 things from BlueLightCamp13
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