When a ye olde colleague emailed me with the strange question, ‘Are you dead?’ I replied, ‘No, I’m a dad’.
He was asking because I hadn’t blogged since Pixie Lott was number one, and he was disappointed because he found my blog had been one good way to keep up on digital in government.
I told him that it was simply that I now had additional responsibilities at home in the form of a bouncing baby boy. And, when Ben was taking a break from bouncing to finally go to sleep, blogging was really quite far from my thoughts.
Still, if I was going to take his flattery I also had to take his point and get posting – check – even if I’m slightly cheating by riffing on what I emailed back to him in the form of four recommendations for blogs that cover central government’s use of digital.
I picked my recommendations based on the fact that I like reading them and they have posted regularly through the year offering genuinely unique insights. So well done them.
1. Stephen Hale / Health Conversations
First up, Stephen Hale, who goes about his business in an understated manner that belies his creativity and industry. A seasoned blogger from his days at the FCO, Stephen’s using blogging at the Department of Health to account for his work there turning around that department’s digital fortunes. But as well as blogging about matters close to home, he’s also using his experience and contacts to spotlight and comment on important developments across his profession.
2. GDS / Government Digital Service
If you only read one blog about HMG on the web it should be the ‘boss blog’ from the Government Digital Service. Corporate blogs from the HQ can sometimes ring hollow but not this one. It’s mainly down to the cast which includes Mike Bracken (Executive Director of Digital), James Stewart (Tech lead at GDS) and Neil Williams (who’s been quiet on his own blog to blog here). What a line up. This is where you have go for the inside line on what HMG is thinking and doing in the digital space across engagement, service delivery and the single government domain.
3. Simon Dickson / Puffbox
A man who knows his gov webbie stuff and isn’t backward in commenting on yours, Simon Dickson can divide opinion but is fairly consistent in his own. He’s considered in his views and often first to break a development, he keeps the debate chugging along like only a critical friend can. Don’t get him started on WordPress, though; he can’t stand it.
4. Stefan Czerniawski / Public Strategist
Pubstrat we call him because Czerniawski is a bit more difficult. Stefan is the Clydesdale of the blogging workhorses paraded here for you today. He does the heavy hauling; he’s got the patience and the nerve to tackle the detail of digital service delivery. His blogs help step you into debates that you might have otherwise feared to tread on, and suggests super sharp angles from which to consider them.
Of course, if blogs aren’t your thing then there’s always Twitter. Either way there’s no excuse for not knowing what’s going down on the hot desks of Whitehall.