John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Saturday, September 23, 2006
  Really Simple Syndication (RSS)
I have been using Bloglines to link together my main news sources. Those are the BBC website and various blogs.

I particularly like the NHS Blog Doc, Coppers Blog and Frank Chalk for a perspective on public service.

As far as Politics goes I look at Recess Monkey, Guido Fawkes and Iain Dale.

Locally I look at Labour Councillor Bob Piper andPolitical Hack UK an anonymous Labour activist who is now I believe in Hall Green Constituency, but he might be in mine.

I also look at the Lib Dem Aggregator.

I have, however, just installed an online reader. This should download new stories from each of the above sites at a given frequency. The challenge for life and particulary as an elected politician is to handle all the contacts you get so that the important ones (such as those from constituents) are dealt with properly and others dealt with appropriately - which for most generalised bumpf means rapid recycling. (The circular green file).

At the same time you need to remain up to speed with what is happening. As far as I am concerned I then try to free up time to make things happen. That means initiating things. Things like the OFT reference take quite a bit of work from me personally hence I need to handle everything else as efficiently as possible.

I have managed to persuade the parliamentary authorities to allow me access to the internet via ADSL. This is a major step forward as I have been using a G3/GPRS card which is relatively slow.

My main routes of communication are now email and RSS. If people phone my offices I am emailed a message and if I get a letter that I need to personally see it is scanned in and emailed to me.

The essence of communication is continuing to change away from broadcasting towards narrowcasting. This is, of course, affecting politics as politics is about communication. Leaflets, however, remain important.

This raises the question of anonymity. I think there is a good case for people such as NHS Blog doc and the like to remain anonymous. The fact that their communication is disintermediated is important. The disintermediation of the large media organisations is as significant as in retail.

It is an interesting point, however, that Iain Dale is not anonymous, whereas RecessMonkey and Guido Fawkes are (although I do know them myself). Which works best is unclear and only time will tell.
 
Comments:
Oddly, John, I'm still in Sparkbrook and Small Heath. When the boundaries change, after the next election, I look forward to being in the Labour-held seat of Yardley.

The anonymity thing is interesting. Recess Monkey and Guido are anonymous, but both have been outed. If anyone REALLY cared, they could work out who I am, but I doubt anyone could be bothered - I'm not that high profile and a few people do know who I am.

I choose anonymity just because it gives me a little more freedom to operate under the radar.

Thanks for reading, though. You are in good company - amongst others, my stats show regular hits from the City Council, Parliament, the Guardian and the BBC.

And rest assured, when Ming goes, this blog will again lead the charge with the battle cry of 'Hemming for Leader.'
 
Two sites you might want to add to your Bloglines feed are the Open Rights Group and Spy Blog as they cover subjects that you have blogged about in the past.
 
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Published, promoted, and printed (well not really printed I suppose, more like typed) by John Hemming, 1772 Coventry Road, Birmingham B26 1PB. Hosted by blogspot.com part of Google.com 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043, United States of America. This blog is posted by John Hemming in his personal capacity as an individual.

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