Google hangout – the video conference style service available on the Google + platform – may well have changed the way you do team meetings if you work in a distributed way as we do here at Talk About Local.
But how about for broadcasting your local council meeting? In an ambitious initiative, three bloggers at Lightmoor Life have recently done just that. Using multiple laptops they were able to stream the council chamber from different angles – even managing to hurriedly apply live captions to helpfully point out who’s who and their political allegiances etc.
It’s a fascinating example of what can be achieved with some goodwill between a hyperlocal and the local council – how refreshing after all the #daftarrest nonsense which saw Jacqui Thompson arrested for filming Carmarthensire Council.
Nigel Newman, head of communications at Telford and Wrekin Council said they had seen the offer of filming as an opportunity to engage with with more people locally and instead of the usual one or two members of the public, the stream was viewed by 200 people on the night and a further 90 in the immediate few days following.
The way people consume information is changing. Some councils have spent hundreds and thousands of pounds on streaming which no-one watches so when members of the community came forward and offered, rather than find reasons we couldn’t, we saw it as a great opportunity.
And the council actively assisted in the broadcast by carrying out tests of the equipment beforehand, promoting the activity via the official website and twitter stream and even providing sheets detailing the councillors names and other information allowing for the quick identification needed in caption writing.
In the video clip below, recorded during last night’s Out Of Hours Hyperlocal session (yes, that was on Google + too) Mark McC describes how they did they it at about 58mins.
* I was particularly interested to hear about this experience at this point because I’m currently seeking permission to film at my local council in Richmondshire, North Yorkshire and am preparing a briefing note for councillors about the issue. If you’ve any experience in this, I’d love to hear from you via the comments below or email email@example.com.