Long story short (as it seems to be going global so you probably know about it): Scottish council bans wee girl blogging with pics. This is a monumental cock-up on a number of levels. Here’s why:
One: Getting kids to embrace social media tools is great (heck, even The Brownies now have a badge for blogging) – it helps develop their language, their writing/photography skills, their confidence, may even get them interested in using technology. To slap that down takes all of that away. It says “Don’t bother, we know best, you’ll do as you’re told. You can only write if we approve what you say.” There goes self-expression eh?
Two: It’s turning PR horrific. There will be those in the council that don’t care this has been mentioned in magazines like WIRED but reputationally? This has got to sting.
Having said that, will it have financial impact? Probably not. No-one’s suddenly not going to the area because of this.
Three: Most importantly, Scotland has a terrible time with food. It’s not a healthy nation, so we’re discouraging someone from taking an interest in food and making things better – we’re also causing a charity to lose out on vital funds.
Four: It’s also a bad day for democracy – making a 9 year old child stop blogging. FFS. Yes, I know all they have done is asked her to stop posting pics of her meals but in essence that hits the blog hard as that form of content is a major part of it.
Argyll & Bute Council were dealt a bloody nose when this blog comes out highlighting the state of school meals. Now instead of coming out and explaining why the meals are so awful and encouraging people to come up with better solutions (you know, like engage with your local residents and perhaps crowdsource a bit), they went old school and tried to stop the messenger. Now they haven’t told her to take the blog down but by stopping her uploading pics of what she’s eating, they’ve killed one of the two main forms of content that goes up.
No. (But I’m convinced there’s more to that than meets the eye – why did it take five months for there to be outrage over that event?)
There’s quite a few ways they could do that, but they could start with the basic idea behind it all: fix the bloody problem, which in this case appears to be school dinners. If you use that as your starting point, the rest falls into place quite easily and creatively.