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.