Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Departments are getting all connected

THE wonders of technology are being pushed forth as the Norn Iron executive is embracing the world of social media. Not only are they ‘tweeting’ links to their news releases, but the Executive ad several of its departments have launched their own Youtube channels.

Some of the videos are looking quite well, and we await the Assembly questions about cost, but we have other concerns.

A cynic might say that the use of social media to directly connect with the citizenry is a conspiracy to cut out media interpretation. Having scanned the newspapers on a regular basis, the press releases are usually put in the papers with few attempts at critical analysis. Journalists have obviously better things to do…

But we believe that the Executive should take the next step. On each press release on their website there should be the ability to comment on said press release. That way the citizenry can comment on exactly what they think of the releases contents – or with their views on the Executive in general.

We suspect that this may be a step too far in engaging, transparently with the populace. To do so may mean that there will have to be a Ministerial Sub-Committee on the issue.

In the meantime congratulations to the NI Executive’s Twitterers for having the Executive’s Twitter feed reaching almost 700 followers. It’s just surprising how many of their followers are journalists and politicians – do they not get the press releases already?

Monday, 7 February 2011

Woe is Tory me!

IT’S unfair. Seriously they used to be mates, but now it has all gone to hell in a handbasket: that is the Tory UUP link that was people!

Secretary of State Owen Paterson declared that Martin McGuiness being elected as First Minister would be an endorsement of political progress, and the local Conservatives are opening their own campaign office with the blessing of the Tory leadership.

Tom Elliott is genuinely a decent sort of bloke – or so we are told – but c’mon no-one deserves to be kicked when they are down. Party members leaving, Tories now seemingly running away, general comments about the death of the UUP, we can only see one hope: a petition to the courts by the UUP seeking to declare every other political party illegal.

Scanning down through history’s pages isn’t that what they used to do? Or are we being too literal about the ‘old Stormont’?

Oh no not more Nolan!

CONGRATULATIONS to the ever ebullient Mr Stephen Nolan. With the latest RAJAR (radio listening statistics) published his Radio Ulster phone-in is once more confirmed as the “Biggest Show In The Country”.

No doubt there are many who find the BBC broadcaster annoying. No doubt there are public servants who feel he unfairly lambasts those hard at work.

We often raise a silent toast to Mr Nolan as he lays into politicians; or through his baiting makes them seem even more preposterous than they are usually.

But now he has once again secured the ratings to justify his claims, we are in silent despair, having switched the radio off. No longer will we be able to justify a mug of hot chocolate at 9am lasting to 10.30 as we titter at the titillations and political trivia booming from our radio.

For between now and May each and every prospective Assembly candidate from each and every party will be sitting with the Nolan Show’s number on speed dial – ready to pop off a missive or demand an appearance to show how they are right and every other party is wrong.

We may be forced to retreat to the safer environs of Wendy Austin’s afternoon phone-in; that is until she starts having party leaders on her show.