The IDeA online conference “Councillors connected: the social media online conference” is happening today, and until Wednesday this week (6-8 April).

Anyone can join the online conference – go to to register. (You will first need to be logged to their website to view the links below.)

They have a great line up of speakers this morning, but this conference is really all about you – we’ve already had some great responses. Feel free to ask questions or start your own topics on social media and local government. Maybe start by introducing yourself to the conference and share a little about how you use social media at work and personally. You can use our conference programme to find your way around the growing list of resources, including a hints and tips for getting the most out of the conference.

Opening address: Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government shares a video message on using social media and supporting local democracy. She’s very positive about the impact of social media on the relationship between local government and local people, but are there some ominous undertones about mandating the use of social media by local government?

James Cousins (LB Wandsworth, Conservative) has a video address on how social media can help humanise the communication between councillors and their constituents. I live in Wandsworth and I’ve been watching (and sometimes engaging) in his really helpful interactions with local people via Twitter.

Richard Kemp (Liverpool, Liberal Democrat) Deputy Chair of the LGA, talks about taking his first steps in social media tool Twitter. More and more councillors are using Twitter; how can it help councillors in their work? Richard will be live in the conference between 11 and 12 today (working computer permitting – a drawback of all this technology is sometimes it lets you down – he’s phoned to say his connection’s down, but he’ll be online as soon as he can)

Tim Pickstone (Bury MBC, Liberal Democrat) provides an excellent piece on how blogging has helped him in campaigning, communication and accountability and provides links to other councillor blogs.


Louise Brown from the National Council of Voluntary Organisations talks about how social media provides opportunities for councils and the voluntary sector to work together. She’ll be available from 3 to 5pm today for live discussion.

If you’re a Twitter user please use #cllrsconnnected or on Delicious cllrsconnected to bring outside content into the conference space. If you don’t know what that means, then this conference is a great opportunity to find out.

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