So Directgov took up the challenge

Tom Watson MP challenged Directgov on Twitter to:

Tom_watson @direcgov Today for example – wouldn’t it be the day you change the front page to give a host of travel info feeds and up to date advice?

Directgov @tom_watson heard loud and clear

Tom_watson @Directgov Very glad to hear it. I’ve just purchased www.schoolclosures.org.uk Fancy rising to the challenge for tomorrow morning?

Tom_watson @Directgov that should say schoolclosures.org.uk If you did it for tomorrow am, you’d be heroes.

A few hours ago:

http://innovate.direct.gov.uk/2009/02/03/school-closures-%E2%80%93-a-better-way/

Tom_watson @Directgov, I salute you. Utterly brilliant turnaround: http://is.gd/idfX More on school closures and humble pie here: http://bit.ly/39aljD

That’s how it is done. H/T to the ever clever Paul Clarke who was able to swing into action, even though he was also crowdsourcing for snow 🙂

There are problems with the Beta site for school closures, you need to refresh the page to get a response, and the results depend on the schools themselves or you lot in the know to update the information – so… anyway the point is that it was done.

Lovely.

Update: SHOCKING behaviour on my part, I completely ignored @brianhoadley who led the development of the Directgov innovations site and the development of the app for school closures, I am so so sorry Brian! Being a div, staying at home going slightly mental.

twitter update – (warning: this post makes no sense unless you understand @hubmum)

Well now, ever since Jonathan Ross (@wossy) and Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) ‘broke’ the twitter thing on @wossy’s comeback show, twitter seems to have gone bonkers.

I have had a difficult relationship with it – detailed on this blog here and here and I banged on for a bit in various related posts not worth bringing up again. I could wang on about the context of this post, but am going to limit it to 140 chars, my twitter journey:

@hubmum curiosity, disdain, exasperation, overuse, grumpy, laughing, work value, inspiration, grudging admiration, acceptance, value

Over the weekend the Power of Information report was launched on twitter for review, I know that it was ‘set live’ elsewhere but it set twitter alight, not least for @tom_watson‘s incessant tweeting (and direct messaging) about it. (Not so much fun, as it really meant homework for the geeky kids, but still… it was a good place to show it off and get the attention of those who cared).

Then there was the out-pouring of information about the UKGovBarCamp09, stories breaking, blog posts being slutted, a wealth of information. By Sunday I had trimmed my list of people I followed (including losing @wossy I am afraid) to the people of value to me at work, and also those who just keep me sane.

Last night it became about snow… we get terribly excited about snow, and quite right too, (my flickr stream of the chronically brilliant snow we enjoyed today: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mulquem/sets/72157613229704253/). Then @paul_clarke asked his followers to fill in a twitter formula for reporting snow, mark out of ten (I don’t know if he did this alone): hash tag uksnow first part of your postcode followed by a mark out of ten, so for me (if my tweets weren’t protected): @hubmum #uksnow GU1 5/10. @benmarsh picked this up and created a mashup of the snow reports from the UK.

Today it was snow, yes, plus school and trains… for me. I knew that my daughters’ school would use the clarion call text system to let us know about whether there was any respite today from the excitement: there wasn’t, but I also needed to know if I was able to get in to work: I couldn’t. I did however abuse @directgov by twitter for not giving me more travel information – seeing as all of the travel sites crashed – and received direct messages assuring me that they were working on it: v gd use of twitter; might not give me the information I needed, but I knew that someone was at the other end of my frustration and was doing something about it.

@tom_watson then challenged @directgov to carry information about schools that were open or shut, starting a maelstrom of advice and an acceptance of the challenge from @directgov. Let’s see what happens now…

My list of ‘friends who keep me sane’, (including weirdly @paulcarr who is definitely not sane), kept me amused with their increasingly ridiculous twitpic attempts to outdo eachother in the alternative snowman competition that developed during the day.

Because many people were similarly trapped at home, the conversations happening on twitter about stuff that interested me, by the people I respect enabled me to work, to completely understand what is happening in this space, tweets and RTs were coming in by the minute, I felt that I was fully conversant in what is happening right now.

Although this was happening on twitter, I was also able to take my children out every few hours, answer emails (deal with the backlog) and complete my meetings by teleconference… then catch up again.

During one such outing to the slopes of Guildford I missed the exciting news that techcrunch (@mbites) had written about @directgov, this was then picked up by @washington_post.

Yet, I feel as if I am becoming a bit spoiled. For example, my sister told me (on facebook) that getting through the day at home demanded Jeremy Kyle on repeat; so I had him on in the background, but he was doing a ‘lie detector’ session rather than the more compelling ‘DNA test’. The indulged ‘me’ wanted to tweet the programme organisers to say that I was more in the mood for ‘DNA testing’, please, to keep me going through the day. Hmm even I can see that this demand was not going to be met… so I feel a bit guilty about @directgov tbh…

… anyhoo

I am exhausted by writing this post… the point is, twitter is good, it is useful, but watch who you follow and be aware who is following you. Protect your updates until you know how you are going to use it, and NEVER synch it with facebook unless you are: 1. so au fait with this stuff that you only update occasionally to the same audience or 2. use both socially/professionally (same diff).

You would not believe the stuff I have left out, but really, I like you, so I will not RT and overload your brains: make your own minds up.

PS Best twitpic of the day: @littlelaura is best http://twitpic.com/1avrm un-be-lievable…

PPS Best in ‘balanced use of twitter’: @paul_clarke

PPPS No post is complete without a mention of @olibarrett who launched his Make Your Mark with a Tenner ’09 campaign.

PPPPS http://www.twittermoms.com/ = new netmums

PPPPPS I protect my updates, so people have to ask to follow me, in the same way that Facebook offers the same privacy option – sorry

Love

@hubmum