Should the Observatory keep blogging?

This Observations blog was set up in July 2008. Formally, the aim is to support one of our strategic objectives:

Provide effective access to intelligence to encourage higher standards of evidence–based decision-making

Also, as the first foray into blogging at the Observatory, it’s an experiment to see what happens when we share information in this way.

Six months on and this blog is being reviewed. At the end of January 2009, the Observatory’s management team will decide whether we will continue blogging here.

Your feedback on how we’re doing would be much appreciated. Do you find this blog useful? Are the posts relevant to your work? Is this blog providing “effective access to intelligence”?

12 Responses

  1. You’re making sense of what’s a complex area – the way in which research and data inform policy. That’s welcome, especially in these times when we can expect rash decision-making that too often won’t be evidence based.

    Long may you continue – I’ve gone from being someone who rarely accessed WMRO resources to making it my first port of call.

  2. I think you should keep blogging, I monitor it through my rss feeds to keep up to date with what’s happening and its a great way to interact with the observatory and other interested parties.

  3. 1. Do you find this blog useful? Yes.
    2. Are the posts relevant to your work? What work?
    3. Is this blog providing “effective access to intelligence”? Yes.

    The ‘effective access to intelligence’ means two things: easy physical access, e.g. an RSS feed that brings things to my desktop, and ease of comprehension, e.g. written in a bulletin format that summarises other material, which I can then read if it seems relevant.

    Where else do I get this combination of access and intelligence? Through the occasional report from agencies, thinktanks, etc. In other words, not that many places, nor in particularly readable form.

    Consider it from this perspective. I don’t work in any of the allied fields, but find the blog accessible and informative. Does the wider public deserve easy access to this sort of information? If you think it does, then don’t stop blogging.

  4. @Dave, Awen and dp: Thanks for the feedback, it’s much appreciated. I’m glad you’re finding the blog and the feeds valuable. It’s useful to hear your thoughts on the content style and how you access the information.

    @dp: While the target audience is those who use data and research to inform policy making in the West Midlands, yes I agree that wider public should have easy access to this information too.

    If the bulletin style of posts on this blog makes complex issues more digestible, and this is valued, the team of contributors can tailor their posts to make the most of this style going forward.

  5. dp makes very good points, as another that has been following the blog with interest – but with only personal interest (and a little bit of journalism research) I would agree that this format is ideal in terms of disseminating this information.

    It is also doing wonders for the visibility of the WMRO as an organisation and cementing its position as a vital source of information.

    That’s on top of all the other benefits of blogging that everyone gets, has it helped the bloggers formulate and organise their thoughts, or communicate ideas within the organisation? I’m sure it has.

  6. Thanks bounder. Raising awareness of the Observatory – particularly outside of existing audiences that we’re already talking with – was one of the reasons behind starting this blog. I’m glad you think Observations has helped raise visibility.

    In terms of benefits for the contributors themselves, I hope it has helped them in formulating ideas and thinking more widely about how to share research and learn from other contributors’ posts. Inroads are definitely being made into thinking how to share information more widely (and in different formats, this blog being one of them).

    Maybe other contributors could comment?

  7. Keep blogging! Lots of stuff passes me by, but there are occasional useful items which I zoom in on. I monitor your stuff through an RSS feed which is very handy.

  8. Thanks for the feedback Rich. Glad you find some of the posts useful!

  9. I take it the answer is…’yes’!

    Posts are concise and well written and very useful, even for someone from the other Midlands! Keep up all the good work…

  10. The answer is a resounding yes! The management team agreed (just yesterday, in fact) and we’ll now be blogging permanently here on ‘Observations’. Onwards and upwards…

    Glad you’re finding the posts useful.

    Are there any plans to blog at Intelligence East Midlands?

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