And so to launch the new onionbagblog, what finer way than for the first post to offer an exclusive interview with the first citizen of the Borough of Lambeth? Not the first in an Adam & Eve sense, but the first as in Lambeth’s meet ‘n greet (and ever smiling) Mr Mayor.
Councillor Wellbelove Mr Mayor is leading the way in online engagement with the electorate. He blogs, tweets, and after our five-minute session spent in Mr Mayor’s parlour, I doubt it will be too long before he starts podcasting as well.
Why does any of this matter? Communication is a two way process. It takes two to tango, something that Mr Mayor is all too aware of. He answers all tweets, and takes great pride in explaining his civic responsibilities through his blog.
My audioboo catch up with Mr Mayor was no great coup; I simply set him a tweet pitching for the podcast, and then within the hour, the meeting was confirmed. This is open, online democracy in action, right here in Lambeth.
The podcast itself is no audio masterpiece of BBC production values. It’s a snapshot for the moment, hopefully explaining to a wider online audience about the role of the Mayor within the Borough.
We overran slightly towards the end; having briefed Mr Mayor about the need for punchy, concise answers when recording with audioboo, I of course rambled on and on and on with my Q’s. That’s what an audioboo five minutes of fame sitting in the Mayor’s Parlour (ooh!) does to a man.
Civic responsibilities, electoral procedure, social media, lovely Lambeth and meeting the Queen – it’s a lot to cram into a five minute audioboo piece.
It was pleasing then to find Mr Mayor equally charming off the record, where we exchanged ideas about reporting the news agenda within the Borough and how BIG (or even small-ish) media just don’t get social media. Plus don’t forget that @mayoroflambeth is also being followed on Twitter by another elected local politician over in California.
I wish Mr Mayor the best of luck over the remainder of his year in office. I was unaware of the civic duty of a Mayor before our meeting. I was equally oblivious to the fact that Mr Mayor also holds down a day job and balances his endless meet ‘n greet work with his 9-5-holiday time.
It’s easy to kick politicians, and when they deserve it, I’m first in line. How refreshing then to meet an everyday guy who is passionate about Lambeth and not afraid to do the whole modern interweb thing to put his message across.
We’ve come a long way since the days of dear old Alf Roberts.