We started the Birmingham Science City Blog, this latest step in our Social Media life, back in May 2012. This was intended to add to and complement our active life on Twitter (@BhamScienceCity) and LinkedIn (search Innovation Futures Birmingham Science City). In true social media style, and with the excellent advise of our friends at Podnosh, we did not have a clear plan or set of targets for the blog, rather, as I said in that very first post, to ‘be open, share and collaborate because while there are challenges, there are opportunities in this world conversation! ‘ So we have experimented and evolved the blog – some thoughts and stats are shared below on how the year has gone. But first and foremost, and in keeping with Birmingham Science City’s goals, this is a Blog for the R&D and Innovation Community in Birmingham and the surrounding region, so as we start a happy new New Year of blogging, please tell us what YOU think, what you want to hear about and how you can contribute.
In the spirit of openness, we share the report that the The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
To add to that, here are some reflections of my own, based on this report, further stats we can access and comments made by various means (including that still useful route of face to face conversation), some thoughts on how we continue to provide a useful Blog for the community we seek to serve:
– We mixed guest posts with ones from the BSC Executive Team. Whilst a guest blog from David Roberts on ‘People and places’, was our most popular with over 300 reads, a ‘home grown’ one from Jackie Homan on ‘Public Procurement Driving Innovation‘ was read almost 200 times. We are grateful to all our guest bloggers, including Rick Robinson, the Urban Technologist and the chair of our Digital Working Group, who provided several posts throughout the year. So we will continue with this mix and welcome ideas and offers from any of our partners for guest blogs, particularly from new potential guest bloggers.
– We had posts on a wide range of themes – though all around R&D and innovation related subjects. There was no predicting what was going to be the most popular – the procurement theme (above) perhaps surprised us, but equally we might have expected ‘Innovation is a Team Sport – with TSB in a key role‘, which included a lot of information on funding and the role of the Technology Strategy Board, to have had more that 20 or so reads. The conclusion has to be keep posting a variety of things and do not try to plan of second guess where interests of our broad community will lie – but please tell us what you would like to hear about and we can post or ‘commission’ a post as appropriate.
– We know that in comparison to other blogs our readerships are small, but our priority is reaching the community we primarily serve – R&D and Innovation Community in Birmingham and the surrounding region. Therefore we promote our blogs to that community through Twitter and LinkedIn etc, rather than routes that have been suggested such as syndication. We would welcome any thoughts on how we could get better reach into that target community, whilst welcoming communication with potential partner or interested organisations from further afield.
– Blogging has been fun but, like everything, it takes time when resources are tight and priorities have to be balanced. I am glad to say we are feeling quite confident that Birmingham Science City will be around for a while to come, and so, therefore, will the blog. But with a small team, and no dedicated Communications support at present, realistically the posts will be as and when rather than frequent or systematic. So please talk to us (via any means) and help us to prioritise and blog effectively.
I will sign off by wishing all our readers a healthy and happy 2013 and to urge us all to keep using social media to be open, to share and to collaborate to tackle challenges and take opportunities in this world of innovation.
Pam Waddell, Director of Birmingham Science City