City Council PR uses anonymous blogs

Andy from the blog at emailed me to let me know that Stephen Barker Nottingham City Council’s Head of Communications and Marketing has set up his own blog at This is of course lots of positive stuff about Nottingham.

Of course there is lots of positive things about Nottingham, but it seems sneaky to set up a blog as part of your job to promote Nottingham, but present it as a personal blog. Lots of organisations and projects have blogs, but they are honest that it is an organisational blog and not a personal blog.


11 Responses to City Council PR uses anonymous blogs

  1. bulcote cowboy says:

    Hello. If you read my blog – which is just a test site and which no-one much reads – you will see that I have written about the issue of anonimity online. I’m not hiding who I am. I’m telling anyone who asks that I am Stephen Barker. Who are you?

  2. nottgirl says:

    You are not hiding your name, but you are pretending to be just another blogger when in fact you are the Head of Communications and Marketing. It rather reminds me of when key Labour party activists were caught out writing letters to the local newspaper as if they were just another member of the public.

    What does it matter who I am? I am posting as an individual whose views readers can either agree with or disagree.

  3. It matters who you are because your comments are more valid if you are a local council tax payer and if knowing who you are not makes it clear that you do not yourself have some personal or professional bias.

    I’m not pretending to be just another blogger. I’m not actually doing any blogging beyond playing with the technology and responding to other blogs.

    As it happens my online persona is a personal one, not a work one, and views expressed would be my own but I quite understand why you might not want to separate my personal from my professional (or indeed the political but that’s much more copmplicated) and I don’t much care if you don’t.

    Anyway, I’m Stephen and I’m pretty sure you’re Paula.

  4. ncclols says:

    Stephen you were hardly open about who you are when you were flitting around other blogs leaving comments. It wasn’t til I outed you and your dodgy staff videos that you’ve now started to be a bit more open.

    And is it appropriate for a senior NCC manager to go around blogging and commenting in work time? Probably on a work computer? Is it appropriate for a senior NCC manager to leave encouraging comments on Questionmarc’s site?

    People have many reasons for staying anonymous in the blogging world, some good some not so good. A good reason is so that they can freely express criticism for persons or organisations that may have some power over them. A not so good reason is so that they can pretend to be a civilian in order to big up those persons or organisations and give the impression that they are more popular than they are. That’s generally known as sockpuppeting fyi. My own main reason is that I’ve not been particularly helpful to the BNP and don’t really want them finding out too much about me thank you very much.

    Anyway, I do hope you’re not thinking of doing anything stupid like causing any of Nottingham’s bloggers any difficulty. I don’t think that would go down very well at all.

  5. nottgirl says:

    As I say in my profile I have lived in Nottingham for 18 years. I am not blogging as part of a job or on behalf of an organisation. Of course as an individual I have a personal bias, and just like any individual that will affect my views. However if you are hinting that I may be an individual with a personal or professional axe to grind that is very far from the truth.

    I started this blog because although there are lots of things I love about Nottingham, I felt very sad about the negative things I see every day. I called it Nottingham Is Crap because I wasn’t concerned at the time about a particular organisation or issue, but about many issues.

    I have posted much more about Nottingham City Council than I thought I would. When I started blogging I felt okayish about Nottingham City Council – some good, some bad. However over the 8 months I have been doing this blog I have been shocked at some of the things exposed.

    For example, I knew Jon Collins had a real tendency to micro manage and that lots of money was in my opinion being misused on paying consultants. However, I didn’t anticipate the scandalous loss of taxpayers money in the Icelandic banks, the scandal around City Homes or the many other scandals involving Nottingham City Council that I have blogged about in the past 8 months. These are the reason I have posted so much about Nottingham City Council.

    I agree with Andy at ncclols who points out that you weren’t initially open about your identity and that there are many reasons people choose to remain anonymous.

    I notice Bent Society is now only open to people by invitation only. I hope Stephen that you didn’t do anything that encouraged them to do this?

  6. bulcote cowboy says:

    Sorry folks but …

    bulcote cowboy is a personal id the use of which pre-dates any work-based new media activity (I live in Bulcote, I used to milk cows) and has always been connected to my real name via myspace / facebook etc.

    A more developed sense of irony might be useful.

    A less developed sense that there is some great conspiracy might be useful.

    A few more readers might be useful.

    Keep up the good work.

    Bye for now.


  7. bulcote cowboy says:

    Oh dear… sorry but …

    bulcote cowboy is a personal online id that predates any work related social media activities and that is easily connected to my real id via myspace / facebook cross-reference. I live in Bulcote. I used to milk cows. There has never been anything to hide.

    A greater sense of irony would help.

    A lesser sense of conspiracy would help.

    More readers would help.

    Keep up the good work.

    Bye for now.


  8. Harry says:

    While you’re on here Mr Barker I just want to tell you that I resent very much having to pay for you to blow smoke up my backside via The Nottingham Arrow. It’s garbage. If there’s ever anything that’s vital for a City resident to know you can bet your life it won’t get a mention. And when you do get round to covering things like the Icelandic debacle, it’s pure unadulterated spin.

    I’d be far happier if you spent your time trying to improve our Council’s miserable two star rating rather than spunking our money away on The Nottingham Arrow and your Communist style banners telling everyone how great everything is here.

  9. stephen barker says:

    Hi Harry

    (What’s with the Guido link?)

    Any City resident who does not want to receive the Arrow can be removed from the mailing list. Just drop a line with your address to



  10. Alan-a-dale says:

    This has all got a bit tit-for-tat now hasn’t it? As Nottgirl says, anyone – City Council taxpayer or not -has a right to express an opinion on Nottingham, just as we might express an opinion on Leeds or Manchester if we visited those cities. As residents of the city or county, we are obviously well placed to comment on both the good and bad in Nottingham (as I try to do). I think Nottingham’s blogging community is excellent and doing a brilliant job to keep free speech alive and those in power on their toes. Long may it prosper and grow.

  11. orieceepila says:

    visit us!

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