Ofcom blogging at last

The only surprise about Ofcom launching a new blog, in support of its review into Public Service Broadcasting, is that it’s taken so long, with veteran blogger Tom Loosemore over there. (It does bear an uncanny resemblance to Tom’s personal blog, actually.) With electronic communications being part of its remit, and its stated objective to ‘remain at the forefront of technological understanding’, you’d have expected them to be an early adopter. (See thoughts from BBC man Nick Reynolds on a related subject.)
This new blog is hosted on Typepad, which I used to recommend for people keen to run a ‘bog standard’ blog, especially if hosting was going to be an issue – but don’t any more. My experience is that people inevitably want ‘normal website’ features at some point, and Typepad really isn’t geared up for that. Not to the same extent WordPress is, anyway. (Another recent gov.uk launch on Typepad is the Dept of Health’s Diabetes blog, for whom Typepad’s instant availability was the primary motivation.)
Meanwhile, across the blogosphere – I’m just a little surprised by the ultra-personal tone of David Miliband’s latest post: reflecting on Arsenal’s performance on Tuesday night. Well done for the attempt to tie it into European politics. And yes, for the record, I have to agree on the sentiments. I’m not sure we’ll see Philippe Senderos surviving the summer: occasionally he does OK, but that’s not really good enough.

6 thoughts on “Ofcom blogging at last”

  1. It was funny to hear the PSB blog being mentioned near the end of the formal presentation at the PSB review launch in Belfast this morning.
    The quote ran something like “it would allow (quotes fingered in air) dialogue (close quotes) around some of the ideas but shouldn’t take the place of your formal consultation response”
    At least it’s started with a few light-hearted comments. I recommend Ofcom plant a tree for every printed report that someone takes out of their building!

  2. Agreed that it’s long overdue – and I can see the long term risk of using Typepad, but in the short term you can’t beat $14.95/month to try something out.
    Of more interest in the long term may be the way we’ve put the review itself up online: http://ofcompsbreview.typepad.com/summary/
    It let’s you link to and comment upon every paragraph of the PSB Review’s exec summary, as well as allowing us to link through to the related evidence slide (via a presentation on slideshare)

  3. Another recent gov.uk launch on Typepad is the Dept of Health’s Diabetes blog, for whom Typepad’s instant availability was the primary motivation

    I’m a bit surprised by that. WordPress runs on almost any PHP/MySQL server, there are loads of free templates (or you adapt the standard one), and it’s much more flexible, even in the short term. Working an hour or so a day on it I managed to launch Alex Brodkin with WordPress within 4 days of the order being made – and that time included server config, domain name registration etc.
    I reckon you should offer a ‘WordPress blog in a week’ service to government departments – it will take government comms people longer than that to muster up the first post for the blog anyway!

  4. @Jon You’re preaching to the converted on that one, mate! But Typepad’s big plus point, as Tom L’s comment demonstrated, is that you can whip out the corporate credit card, pay a pittance per month… and neither the IT department nor Procurement is any the wiser.
    It’s no longer quite as clear-cut as it was, with WordPress.com offering respectable customisation options (via custom CSS) and the ability to present the blog under your own domain… cheaper than Typepad, too. (Plus, Blogger has come on a lot, after a post-acquisition period of stagnation.)
    But certainly, it’s my experience that mere blogging isn’t enough for people in the longer term; they want to take it further. And there’s no doubt in my mind, WordPress is the only choice in such circumstances.
    PS: I’m expecting two big WordPress-in-government news stories in the next couple of weeks. Details as soon as I feel it’s sensible to release them.

  5. Very valid point about the credit card and just managing to get the thing working without needing to speak to the IT department…
    I wonder whether something in between would be appealing – a kind of wordpress.com+ option where you automatically get an installation of a proper version of WordPress, but it works straight away once you paid?
    As for price: you can run WordPress off servers from One.com – full featured blogging with a proper installation of WordPress for 90p a month. It’s very handy for low budget projects.

  6. In fact, I used to use one.com myself, but hit a problem with domain name transfer… can’t remember what exactly, but that’s not the point. These days I’m using eukhost.com: UK-based, cPanel / Fantastico account management, and packages starting from £23/year. It won’t take too much detective work to see I’m putting some fairly high-visibility websites up there (and this one), with no complaints.

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