Web tools for plymouth – Communication Tools

I gave a talk to the Devon Social Media Cafe about how we can use social media tools and web apps to improve our city, here are some of the tools I talked about in case you haven’t seen them:

#Plymouth twitter search

If you’re new to twitter or haven’t tried it before, hashtags like #plymouth search all of twitter for what people are saying about plymouth.

It’s great for finding out about events and local news in the city, to keep an eye on what peoples opinions on things and it’s a place where you can ask questions and have disscussions with the people of plymouth in a quick and easy way.

What Do they Know

Freedom of information requests let you ask government organisations such as the local council for information about them, for example questions about their budget or how they run their organisation.

whatdotheyknow.com is a mysociety project so that makes it easier to send FOI requests and also to put the replies in public where everyone can see them.

Why is this neat? Because if someone asks the council an interesting question, they’re legally required to respond (within certain conditions) and  their answer is up for everyone to see.

for example, how much did plymouth council spend on postively plymouth branding: here’s the FOI request and response.

They Work For you

www.theyworkforyou.com keeps track of what your MP is doing in parliament- You give it your postcode and it will find out who your representative is and searches government data such as hansard to:

  • link to speeches they’ve given and questions they’ve asked in parliament
  • their voting record and how often they follow against the party whip
  • you can send them a message via the site so you don’t need to search for their contact details yourself
  • it even provides some details of their sponsors and shareholdings so you can see if they’re likely to have a conflict of interest


Wikitravel takes the wikipedia model and applies it to building a global travel guide written by the locals.

Plymouth is unlikely to get it’s own copy of Lonely Planet any time soon, but because anyone can edit the wiki, if you live in Plymouth, you can sign up to the wiki and add suggestions for tourist attractions to visit, details on how to get here and plymouth culture.

The easier it is for potential visitors to find out about interesting things in plymouth and the details they need to organise the trip, the bigger the tourist economy will get and there’ll be more money and opportunities flowing into the city.

Have you got any other tools Plymouth people would find useful? Post them in the comments!

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