Influential Lib Dems – and, yes, hashtag taxonomy

I had to wait until today, with the final announcement of the top ten Lib Dems, when it was finally clear I had fallen short of Iain Dale’s top-50 influential Lib Dems – despite having variously worked with or for several of those who are in the list.

And yet my reach and my influence is significant. Last Friday, I coined a phrase “hashtag taxonomy” that was resoundly mocked in all sorts of places throughout conference until finally culminating in a name check on Radio 5Live when my new friend and celebrity talking head Helen Duffett managed to crowbar it into a interview on the leader’s speech. And not only did Helen say it, someone actually heard it and twittered about it.

And now I hear the concept will be written up into a paper for an American political science journal by my colleague Dr Mark Pack, so I set to work to think of further poncey phrases that might work in an academic concept, finally coming up with the phrase “cross-media, cross-platform hegemony.” I have thought a little further on that and think now I may have confused my hegemonies with my synergies, so what we really need is cross-media, cross-platform synergy. I have been clear throughout, however, that it is most useful to refer to taxonomy in the singular. Taxonomies threatens getting singularly postmodern.

But I fear all our hashtags and taxonomies and synergies are obscuring how useful this thing that Dr Pack stumbled on last week could actually be. Basically, @partyConference (and I don’t know who they are) suggested a standard style of tag, starting with the # character, for all the party conferences. If you tag a text message with the hashtag, or tweme, ‘#libdem08’ it will automatically appear this page on the website

To the best of my knowledge, no-one did anything to create that page – unless it was put there by @partyconference themselves. Or did the website just notice that lots of people were suddenly saying #libdem08 and bring a lot of them together in one place? (Interestingly, at the moment, there doesn’t appear to be a #lab08 page – if you try all you see is a message tagged #boring…)

But hold on a second minute. It’s not just the twitter messages that can be made to appear on that wee page. Items posted to do as well, as do photos on flickr. This is when we get to the cross-media, cross-platform excitement. Suddenly it’s all very interesting indeed.

You can really see the application of this when a large volume of tech savvy people all go to the same place at the same time. And Lib Dem conference was that place. All I need to do now is convince a few more people apart from me and Will Howells to upload photos, and we will be literally unstoppable.

I can’t wait to see whether the Tories or Labour make owt out of hashtags at their own efforts.


Tweets on 2008-09-17

  • Watching Jonathan Wallace wrestle in plastic bags. #
  • Enjoying the endorsement from Nicholas Parsons on Daily Politics #libdem08 #
  • @HelenDuffett Woo – snaps for the hashtag taxonomy #LibDem08 #
  • @helenduffet go go go ! #
  • Switching to buzz kill Nic Robinson on BBC2 #libdem08 #
  • Struggling to insert an umlaut into a plugin #
  • A little puzzled about how a campaign tactic being discussed on the One o’clock news could possibly be a secret weapon. #
  • Just leaving Soton now after a quick visit to bro and missus for some nephew-dandling. #
  • Getting back on the motorway after a wrong turn led to Sainsbury’s. #
  • Blimey, a 24-pump petrol station. #
  • Any recommendations for mobile traffic news services that actually work? #
  • Stopping at Leicester Forest East to try and work out wtf is happening at M1 J22-23 that’s causing 30 min delays #
  • Also trying to work out if alternative routes would be more than 30 mins longer. #
  • Traffic still moving normally at J21a. Services staff know neither what’s going off or how to find out. #
  • Internet says vehicle fire. #
  • Wishing @willhowells had done @M1 🙂 #
  • Paying my money and taking my choice – M1 with deff long delays or A46 poss drowning under diverted traffic… #

Powered by Twitter Tools.

Tweets on 2008-09-16

  • Oh, you are kidding me, how did it get to be 2.30am while I was standing chatting to colleagues? #
  • Tim Farron MP asks if anyone has a bottle opener, so I open his beer with my teeth. #
  • Returning to LDV cupboard after spending hours talking to exhibitors. Voice running out. Shares plumetting. World ending imminently #
  • Asking colleagues to brainstorm vox pop questions. You can play too! #LibDem08 #
  • @markpack great minds… #
  • Memo to senior party talking head – “15 minutes of fame” was Andy Warhol not Woody Allen. #
  • Sitting next to a mother videoconferencing with her kids, which is all enormously sweet. #libdem08 #
  • Trying very hard – and failing – to think of a favourite bus route. #
  • Watching @markpack ‘s head explode #
  • Eschewing glee club this year on basis that I already injured my voice in the car last night, just by talking. #

Powered by Twitter Tools.

Really good transport website

I have been spending today wandering around the exhibition at conference talking to all the people who have come to conference to talk to Lib Dems. Dozens of them.  We have been promoting Lib Dem Voice – the logic is if people are prepared to fork out thousands of pounds to come to conference they’d be interested in either advertising on our website or occasionally penning an article.  As we’re new every morning, as the song goes, we’re always looking for content.

There have been many interesting stalls, and we’ve spent hours talking to fascinating people.

But one website being demonstrated here in the conference has really struck as me as interesting enough to beatle away and blog about. It’s called and it had some really interesting graphical displays of transport data, specific to individual localities. Now I’m sure my council tracks this closely, but making the data widely and simply available is not something I’ve seen yet.

There were key useful tools. Pop in your constituency and it tells you all sorts of fascinating data. Nottingham South is the 39th most congested constituency; 51st highest accident level; and 447th most expensive fuel. I didn’t realise that our congestion or accident stats were that bad (top decile), but being bottom quartile in terms of petrol cost is something I knew about – drive almost anywhere else in the country and petrol is more expensive.

They also have a journey time map – click on any place in the country and they print a driving map to show you how far you can get in 5 minute segments. They show lists of traffic incidents, including accidents and roadworks; they have a map giving real-time road congestion data, and roads to avoid; they have CCTV cameras up and down the M1 to show where the current hotspots are. I wish this had been around while I still had a 40 minute motorway commute every day!

Tweets on 2008-09-15

  • Watching someone cycle over big letters on road saying “no cycling” #
  • @Toranika Join the liveblog of Make it Happen on #LibDem08 #
  • Googling “pachyderm” repeatedly and not getting the desired result. #
  • Criticising Iain Dale’s hashtag taxonomy. Or <em>lack of it</em> #
  • @markpack not while they’re still taking impressions of fluffy feet as a visa entry requirement #
  • @markpack the person sitting to my right #
  • @markpack I don’t know – why *are* hard-boiled eggs often more useful than sledgehammers in the educational process? #
  • @markpack Microphone works better than speaker realises – common problem: #
  • @iaindale It’s the very model of a modern Zoom H2: #
  • Needlessly retyping Amendment One while someone effortlessly finds it on the internet. Don’t like phrase “after ‘struggling’, insert” #
  • Moving to hall after watching debate onscreen. Room packed. Extra seats opened. Many standing. #
  • Eep. Tax-cuts ho! #LibDem08 #
  • Steve Webb “Chris Davies MEP – a household name (in Liberal Democrat households)” #LibDem08 #
  • Googling Pachyderm still not working, although there is now an advert for Elephant Car insurance which is quite funny. #
  • @GavinWhenman I’m stuck doing a computery job that will finish imminently, at which point I’m a 15 min walk away… but deff headed there #
  • V pretty moonlight on sea. #
  • Can anyone review the Revue for LDV? #LibDem08 #
  • Ouch – not sure they should let him sing in public at the revue #libdem08 #

Powered by Twitter Tools.

Tweets on 2008-09-14

  • Nice man from centre staff just came into my dressing room to run the shower for 5 mins to help guard against Legionnaire’s disease. #
  • Clegg refused to answer if he would call himself “left of centre” #LibDem08 #
  • Conference rep asks the same question as current LDV poll 🙂 #LibDem08 #
  • Clegg: coalition discussions are a game of footsie in a Westminster parlour game. #LibDem08 #
  • #Libdem08 “our policy is not about stopping muggings by locking up old ladies” #
  • Bloody linux. Find myself converting audio to MP3 using a command line cos I can’t make Lame play nice. #
  • Talk in the LDV office (now with a staff of 5) turning around nipples and groynes. #LibDem08 #
  • Off to a trainers’ reception. Hope leather shoes are ok. #
  • Starving – just realising I’ve had nothing proper to eat since my pub bacon sarnie breakfast 12 hours ago. #
  • Bugger, no food shops still open. I’d forgotten it was Sunday. #
  • Never been so grateful to see a 10″ Hawaiian in my life! #

Powered by Twitter Tools.

Tweets on 2008-09-13

  • My hotel has outsourced breakfast to a neighbouring pub. It feels so wrong! #
  • #LibDem08 wandering around conf centre trying to work out where our facilities are. #
  • #LibDem08 Ooh, fabulous, we’re in a room with a telly screen for the main hall. #
  • #LibDem08 Giving the conference rally a miss – but thanks to the wonders of hashtags on twitter, it’s almost as if I’m there. #
  • #LibDem08 Hmmph. Come all this way to the sunny seaside, then spend all the daylight hours cooped up in a windowless room #
  • Well, it looks like I only get a chocolate éclair on my pillow on the first night. #
  • Sucked in by high drama on Casualty. Blog awards coming next. #
  • Mental note to self: watch Casualty more often. That was amazing! #

Powered by Twitter Tools.

Tweets on 2008-09-12

  • @willhowells No steam pipe trunk distribution venue this year? #
  • Eek, p12 of today’s Daily Mail is the LDV member survey. #
  • Prevaricating. I should be packing a suitcase and going to the printers on the way to Bournemouth. But instead I’m distracted by email. #
  • @willhowells Don’t have superglue in stock, but if need is urgent enough, I can detour… #
  • Running out of toner halfway through a mailmerge. Sounds like a good metaphor for something. #
  • #LibDem08 Warning my hotel I probably won’t hit Bournemouth before midnight. #
  • Completing my last Nottingham errand and heading to Bournemouth. #
  • Gordon bennet, still on the road, but only 40 more miles. #

Powered by Twitter Tools.