Many other bloggers will have noticed the Blog Action Day is nearly here again (and I love the fact that this year I can actually contribute, not just follow!) This year the theme is climate change, so I should have no trouble finding things to write about – after all, it is taking up a huge amount of time among my colleagues at the moment.
What it reminds me now though, is that it is a year since DFID staff started to blog. I’ve spoken about our experience a lot, and am still happy to share what we did – to try and answer any questions from people in organisations who may be still thinking about using this method of adding a personal perspective to corporate news. I’m really pleased at how our initial planning and persuading has evolved into a rich channel, with some really interesting stories. Our early volunteers have mostly handed over to new recruits, and we have a steady stream of volunteers coming forward. Highlights of the year for me have been the series of posts from Martin, who from February to September was head of our office in Rwanda; interesting insights, and a string of celebrity visitors from Sarah in Nepal; fascinating stuff from Colum, who visited places I had to go and look for on the map; and an insiders view of life for a UK civilian in Afghanistan from Vicky. They have all been interesting though – I look forward to reading many more, and the discussions they kick off.
I hope it is the success of these pioneers that has strengthened our drive to inject personal accounts into material published on the main website. Many people enjoyed reading Neil Barry’s account of his work in really difficult situations. We have also injected individual accounts into our coverage of crises around the world – for example when covering events in Gaza, besides news announcements and factual updates, we added diary entries from colleagues who had been there, and carried out phone interviews which we turned into audio files and published.
I didn’t start out meaning to turn this into a survey, but it would be good to hear what people think about this approach – personal voices from government -something that deepens your understanding, or unnecessary fluff when you just want hard facts?