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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Liberal Democrats bloggers Unconference

So, finally last Saturday saw the first Liberal Democrats bloggers Unconference actually take place and here in Edinburgh, for me that was important. I really had a great time and learnt a lot, although wordpress versus blogger, now there's a question, more on that later.

The attendees were; Me, Caron Lindsay, Mark Pack, Alex Foster, Stephen Glenn, John Barrett MP, Jo Swinson MP, Helen Duffett and the infamous Blogfather Lord Bonkers.

John Barrett MP came along to share his views on why he blogs as an MP, and questioned whether he should and will continue after he has stepped down. An interesting debate in itself.

We then went into a technical session which for me was one of the most interesting and whether I should continue on Blogger or move to Wordpress, I am still confused but help is at hand I see via Lib Dem Voice, with Ryan Cullen being a Wordpress fan and Paul Walter not so.

I don't think realistically I can make the decision until after the general election, my work/life balance now is off line, can you imagine trying to do this as well?

Anyway, back to Saturday so a great opening session from John Barrett MP followed by technical stuff, which was very useful, because I am not technical.

Then the highlight of the day, Scottish Lib Dem Leader Tavish Scott came to be interviewed by the team, straight from the train after a visit to see Ahsay Ghai the Lib Dem candidate in the Bearsden South by-election in Jo Swinson's Westminster seat.

I didn't participate in this, purely as Tavish is the boss I work closely with him anyhow and why be selfish so I left it to others to do the interviewing, there will be more to come but Mark Pack was first out the traps with his write up. Read it here.

So, I was organising lunch as they all interviewed Tavish.

Then came another open debate while we waited for Jo Swinson MP who had literally flown in that morning from the United Nations where she had been chairing a debate and participating in others.

Jo Swinson spoke about engaging with voters, the UN and many other things, again a great session with a leading new media user MP, a rare but growing breed.

Jo then talked about how she engages with constituents using various methods, Twitter, e-consultations and the websites.

What was interesting for me was how committed Jo is to the engagement with constituents, I really felt that the reason why Jo twitters from the House of Commons Chamber is not to be a rebel but to ensure that those people who voted in East Dunbartonshire have a right to know what their MP is doing on their behalf.

Jo Swinson regularly runs e-consultations, including when Jo has been allocated a Prime Ministers question asking her constituents what topics she should quiz the PM on.

A real sincere way of engaging with her constituents using the new media options available.

My sincere thanks to John Barrett MP, Jo Swinson MP and Tavish Scott for giving up their time freely on a Saturday to come and chat with us.

My thanks also to the Lib Dem bloggers who descended on Edinburgh on the same day that Scotland went on to win the rugby and beat Australia - are they linked, who knows?

I will add some more to this later!

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