by Dan Slee
For inspiration William Wordsworth used to climb at night over the Cumbrian hills.
With stick in hand he found through walking inspiration from unexpected places.
Sometimes, talking to comms people can be a depressing experience. Rooted in the past, battered by the present and fearful of the future they fear change as a coatless walker fears bruised clouds that promise rain.
A walk along Cardiff Bay to the Pierhead Building for the LGComms social media session ended in some real inspiration.
Backed by Comms Cymru the event saw six sessions on digital innovation in comms.
Centres of innovation like London and the West Midlands are known to many.
But if anyone doubted that bright ideas are coming from all corners of Britain then this event would change their mind.
It's clear that Wales is doing good things with the promise of even better.
Here's 20 things I learned.
1. Just because Google maps says a place is somewhere it doesn't make it so.
2. Bilingual content is a real issue in Wales. The law says it needs to be in Welsh AND English. Some councils in the Principality have been bombarded with tweets when they respond in English.
3. Monmouthshire Council are doing some of the best innovation in Britain. Or Europe. Or anywhere for that matter. I hope they realise this and suspect they do.
4. A key reason why Monmouthshire do good things is because they have a bright comms officer Hel Reynolds and a bright head of comms Rob Webb. You need both.
5. It doesn't matter if you mess up online. Just so long as you hold your hands up and say sorry.
6. Being fun works. Caerphilly Council have done a great YouTube clip involving cartoon sheep to big up their social channels. It's rather lovely.
7. Torfaen Council opened up a room for the local paper to use after they closed their offices in the town.
8. Be careful if you tweet a link to a picture of Princess Anne coming. If you miss out a character you could well point people at a Michael Jackson photograph.
9. Telling people that you are gritting is a good idea no matter where you are.
10. People think school pictures of you are quite amusing.
11. Caerphilly Council have one of the best local government YouTube channels in Britain.
12. I absolutely wish that all councils would publish images to Flickr with a creative commons licence so they can be used. One Welsh council has a great spread of pictures that can't be re-used.
13. Welsh public sector are Tweeting how proud they are to be Welsh on St Davids' Day.
14. Comms Cymru are on to something looking to stage events across Wales.
15. The same problems face Wales as the rest of Britain.
16. Many places are still winning the internal argument to use social channels.
17. A Welsh elected member has had to pay £3,000 damages and £60,000 costs for falsely accusing a rival online.
18. Welsh Assembly member Lindsay Whittle has 800 friends on Facebook.
19. There are plans for an unconference in Wales called #campcymru. That’s worth looking out for.
20. There are a lot of public sector comms people in Wales dipping their toe in Twitter.
Hats off to Rosie Matthews from Caerphilly Council and Kim Patterson from Westminster Council for staging the event.
by Dan Slee