It’s been roughly a calendar year since we started using social media channels here at Parliament. Our strategy around using these platforms will be more clearly defined going forward, but our rationale in using them originally were based around two basic ideas:

1) Linking up with one of Parliament’s primary objectives: to promote public understanding of the work and role of Parliament through the provision of information and access, by

  • Informing – ensuring that the public is well-informed about the work and role of Parliament
  • Promoting – ensuring that the public values Parliament as an institution
  • Listening – engaging the public in ways that reflect their interests

And,

2) Reaching out to people and communities that wouldn’t be visiting the Parliament website.

Evaluation

I realise that stats only tell part of the story, and information on public and internal feedback and traffic back is important. I could write a whole post on the public and internal reaction to us using these tools, but this one is just about the stats. In summary, generally public feedback has been good! And internal departments are now actively looking to use these channels, especially YouTube, Flickr and Twitter.

YouTube

  • www.youtube.com/UKParliament
  • 47 videos on the channel – started posting videos May 2008
  • Approx views across all videos: 224,000 (this is views on YouTube,  on our site, or other sites where it’s been embedded)
  • Channel views: 67,000+
  • Subscribers: 477

Flickr

www.flickr.com/photos/uk_parliament

flickr-stats-alt

  • 179,430 views since summer 2008
  • Recently we’ve been averaging approx 1000 views per day
  • 78% of these views come from users searching on Flickr.com; 13% from Google; 3% from Parliament.uk
  • Our most popular image is of the Speaker’s  Table

Twitter

  • www.twitter.com/ukparliament
  • Regular updates began June 2008
  • Followers: 8600
  • Updates 1127
  • Clickthrough on links (according to bit.ly) is usually over 200. With 519 clickthroughs the highest so far. The stats for any of our bit.ly links can be accessed by copying and pasting the bit.ly URL into a browser window, then adding ‘+’.

Facebook

www.facebook.com/pages/London-United-Kingdom/UK-Parliament/16553417732

Launched June 2008 – 739 fans

We’re starting to do more with our Facebook page, ie, updating it regularly. And it would be good to look at the possibility of developing apps like Number 10 have.

FriendFeed

http://friendfeed.com/ukparliament

Launched August 2008, aggregating all our social media content, and stories from our news area – 284 subscribers.

UK Parliament Google Profile

www.google.com/profiles/ukparliament

Our Google Profile links off to the main areas of the Parliament website and our social media content. Stats are only available for the last 30 days:

Impressions 12438; 1958 Views

Parliament Labs blog

Users of Hansard on the parliamentary website often comment on the need to improve its presentation. Recently the web team has been working with members of the Hansard team and PICT (Parliament’s ICT department) to improve our Hansard pages.

The fruits of our labour can be viewed on our Hansard Beta site

What have we done?

Development work is being done in phases.
 
The first phase consists of:

  • better layout, with improved content list, font size etc
  • better chunking of content – so that you can view/print a whole debate and without having to click on the continue button
  • better structure – while this won’t be visible to users, it will help Parliament make further improvements more easily

This release is just the first step.  We want to be able to make better use of this content so that it can be repackaged throughout the website.  To do this we are working with Hansard and Parliamentary ICT department to improve the code.

Lots more to do

A Hansard project is underway looking at all the tools used to create the paper copy of Hansard; we hope the improvements made to the production of Hansard will make it easier for the web team and other websites to reuse this amazingly rich content.

This is only the start; next we want to focus on Hansard by Member, so that each MP or Lords contributions can be easily found, followed and reused.

We would love to hear what you think about the new Hansard pages. Email webmaster@parliament.uk or comment on this post.

The Find Your MP service has been revised. The service uses the new site design and a simplified interface: you can now search for your MP’s details using a postcode, constituency name or Member name from a single search box.

The aim during the development of the service was to remain transparent, publicly visible and accountable. Wherever possible, the choice was made to use open source technologies – and to make code and data available, unless legally constrained. The project was delivered using a set of tools and services that have supported our preferred lightweight working practices:

The House of Commons agreed on 30 March 2009 to a Report from the Procedure Committee recommending that there should be an experiment with the format of interleaving bills and Explanatory Notes in the case of a single bill in the current Session.

As recommended by the Procedure Committee, the House of Commons has today published the Equality Bill in a trial format as proposed by Chris Bryant MP, from the Deputy Leader of the House.

The Bill and Explanatory Notes are available as a:

  • PDF with both texts side-by-side,
  • an HTML with the texts side-by-side, and
  • an interwoven web page (HTML)

All versions are available on the Equality Bill page

The Procedure Committee of the House of Commons is interested in feedback on this experiment, specifically:

  • Do you find the interleaved document more helpful than the 2 separate documents?
  • Which version of the interleaved document do you prefer? The PDF side-by-side, the HTML side-by-side, or the interwoven web page (HTML)?

The Web Centre would like to know your thoughts on this development, do you know of other sites that have this functionality, is there is a better way to present this information.

Let us know what you think on the blog comments or by email: webmaster@parliament.uk

We worked with the good folks from Tweetminster recently to put together a custom iFrame widget that we could use on the Parliament website.

This involved styling the widget Tweetminster already make available so that it fitted with the look of our new redesign, and specifying what Twitter feeds it would use. We wanted the widget to be ‘Parliament on Twitter’ – so it uses our own @ukparliament feed, any MPs or Peers that use Twitter (are there any Peers using Twitter yet?), but no parliamentary candidates, government departments or political parties.

The hope is that using this widget will further promote how Parliament and its Members are trying to engage with social media tools and with the public. During recess it should also give an insight into the work of MPs in their constituencies.  Although, we have included a disclaimer because the Web Centre team is responsible only for the content of @ukparliament updates, not those from Members…

WordPress.com doesn’t like iFrames so below is just a screengrab, to see it working go to our new Get Involved page.

widget-grab_alt

RSS UK Parliament Twitter

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

Categories

Flickr Photos

Follow Parliament on…

RSS Delicious links

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

Archives