I took on the task of piloting the regular Friday lunchtime #lgovsm chat last week, gently steering participants in an online conversation about the tools in our kits, what we’d recommend as essential to others and how we discover new stuff.

I had a blast doing it and I hope others got something out of it. I’ve tried to sum up the main points and things I took from the discussion but the full transcript will be over at lgovsm.org.uk.

We pretty quickly got into suggesting specific tools we found handy for listening, communicating and engaging , and evaluating. I was pleased that people felt able to ask for advice on platforms and within the chat were getting advice back. It’s great that this happens instantaneously for those following in real-time and that hopefully the transcript means those following asynchronously pick it up or add to the discussion later.

For me the best suggestion for what should be in the kit came from @danslee – when he said common sense was essential but often forgotten about. It was a great throw in that demonstrated perfectly that tools, just like social media, are about human values not simply available technology.

From this the topic started to weave it’s own path (great for me!) and there was much talk about the importance of getting the information out to those still locked out of social media or not using it through choice. We talked about how to find the right hashtags and how to promote your own. We talked about using the RSS from Twitter to pull this ‘external’ content into platforms people could access like Communities of Practice or Yammer.

And I think this is where we get the first sort of action point – we all agreed it would be useful to have some sort of master hashtag list in CoP / KHub; pulling in the RSS from each tag; giving info about what and when. I *think* this is possible, at least in part, so now we need a volunteer to give it a go 😉

We also chatted about SMS and email as ways to reach people. I think these are tools people forget about but have the potential to reach big audiences, in different demographics (sometimes) to online social media. As part of the mix they are essential.

We rounded up by talking about new stuff – how we found it and how we decided whether it was suitable for local gov use. Most of us agreed that we discovered stuff via other people on Twitter (pretty obvious given the primary location of the chat) and that we’d recently been looking at Storify.

In fact @bmwelby and @johnpopham both quickly produced Storify transcripts of the activity on the #lgovsm tag and suggested it could have use for coverage of events or even as a layer in a consultation.

For just an hour we seemed to cover lots of stuff (I’m sure I’ve forgotten some bits in the intervening 48 hours) and I was pleased to come across some new people who I wasn’t already following. It was my great pleasure to be at the helm and I’d love to head up another chat in future (if @LouLouK and #lgovsm will have me!).