Hi I’m Jenny, Head of Digital Engagement at BIS. Up until about 18 months ago I wrote speeches for ministers like Andrew Adonis, John Denham, David Lammy and others. I wrote about 120 speeches or 200,000 words per year (3 short novels). I once wrote a 4,000 word speech in 3 hrs – less time than it took to deliver it. Yet in this role I have also spent hrs on one simple chunk of html, trying to wrap text around a picture, looking for a missing div tag and trying to remember which was bigger, h1 or h2. All this prompted Steph to buy me this book for Xmas,
Clearly it’s not a good use of taxpayer’s money for me to spend 3 hours figuring out what takes others 3 seconds. But nor is it acceptable to outsource every microsite, though we’re happy to buy in a little help for when we want to push the envelope. You might ask why they don’t just sack me and get in someone who dreams in php and enjoys tinkering with Objective-C? While there’s definitely a market for those talented individuals, there is also a need to integrate digital with the rest of comms and policy. That’s why we have a digital news editor who’s ex-press, a digital marketing manager and most recently we’ve even brought the publications team -who’re qualified librarians- into the fold.
We want to be knowledgeable enough to support policymaking through its entire cycle. And savvy enough to be able to advise ministers on how they can start a dialogue with people who will be affected by their decisions. We value technical expertise but as part of a wider comms mix…
That’s why Wordpress is a godsend. Easy, cheap/free, even teaches me html in the process.
It’s not that I can’t work out what it means. Or hack it a bit. It’s more that I’m a naturally clumsy person and the idea of accessing the server and breaking it brings me out in cold sweats. I lurve how in Multi-user you can essentially create a new website by adding a new blog to a site, so we decided to ask Steph if he could build us something that takes the fiddly/scary bits out of building a microsite. Things I particularly like: Spectacular pages (thanks Dave Coveny) – Widgeted pages 3 or 2 column pages Picking colours and fonts and changing them from the back-end at a moment’s notice. Setting up a new blog/website without the tricky install.
WordUp Whitehall presentation
Jenny Poole, Head of Digital Engagement Twitter: @treepixie , email:email@example.com WordPress: both sides of the story Steph Gray, Helpful Technology Twitter: @lesteph , email:firstname.lastname@example.org
A quick recap: 3 kinds of digital engagement * Collaborative drafting and detailed commenting on a document Crowdsourcing, reviewing and prioritising ideas Ongoing engagement around a strategy *all of which have been done at one time or other in WordPress
2010: The new brief <ul><li>A WordPress theme for a new ‘hub’ to support engagement around a major new policy launch </li></ul><ul><li>Social & CMS functionality: blog, document download, comments, links, feeds, email alerts, tweets, embedded content </li></ul><ul><li>With a look-and-feel that can be tweaked and repurposed for future projects </li></ul><ul><li>By a non-technical team, without editing CSS, modifying theme files or installing WordPress </li></ul>
Three bits of magic: (er) 4. Custom Menus http://lgtransparency.readandcomment.com/
The next phase: Readandcomment.com Commentariat 2.0 + plugins Hosting, configuration + maintenance As much support as clients need + + WordPress 3.0 multisite + 12 months, fixed price, standard T&Cs
The bits I’m not telling you <ul><li>Cut and paste is still f***ing boring </li></ul><ul><li>An engaging site is a tiny piece of the puzzle </li></ul><ul><li>Ultimately, it’s just a WordPress theme (you could achieve 90% of it on WordPress.com) </li></ul><ul><li>It’s easier than building from scratch, but still… </li></ul><ul><li>Not really grappled with GPL implications </li></ul><ul><li>Working out if and how this scales </li></ul>Worse still (actually, this stuff really is embarrassing)