Twitter, Flickr, YouTube mooted at the NI Assembly

Earlier this week (3 March), the Northern Ireland Assembly held a plenary debate on an “engagement strategy”, which is “aimed at improving public engagement with the Assembly, its committee and MLAs.” The strategy has been devised by the Assembly’s Assembly Commission.

Much of the debate spoke to the number of school visits to Parliament Buildings and the need for improved facilities by the Assembly’s Education Service (i.e. who manage such visits).

Several MLAs highlighted the forthcoming Assembly roadshow tour, hosted by the Speaker of the Assembly, William Hay MLA. Some MLAs were jealous that this first road show was not coming to their constituency; at least that shows positive interest.

The engagement strategy even moots an Assembly cafe. But somehow I don’t see people popping in for an afternoon cuppa. I’m curious what the authors have in mind.

Of particular interest was the discussion on web technologies. Twitter was cited a few times. As you know, we here at Our Future Together (that includes you Supporters) have taken up the challenge to get as many political parties, elected representatives, and Government agencies to sign up and make effective use of Twitter. (And within a week I’m please to announce that the 6 parties represented at Stormont all now have Twitter accounts!)

But just signing up to Twitter and posting press release blurbs (or worse, nothing at all) isn’t real engagement. Indeed, I’m disappointed how many aren’t permitting direct message replies.

Reminds me when a friendly organisation asked me for advice on setting up a website. I asked, “Why do you want a website?”

“Because everyone else has one.” I explained that jumping on the bandwagon was the last reason to do it.

So already I’m contemplating stage two of my Twitter table: to sort by updates posted/followers/following. But first let’s concentrate on getting a critical mass signed up.

I’m counting on your own efforts, through persistence and persuasion!

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