Next week I’m participating in an online conference about social media in councils.

The conference, organised by the IDeA, is taking place on the Communities of Practice platform – a kind of professional social network site for council members and officers.

It’s a network that’s worth joining anyway if you have an interest in local government – and there are groups within the community for almost every area of work that takes place within the sector, including communications and social media.

The online conference aims to explore the benefits (and risks) of councils and councillors using social media for better community engagement, communication and the improving local public services. It will also be covering councillors own use of social media (blogs, Twitter, Facebook) and the benefits of going where communities are already gathered online (e.g. Mumsnet, Facebook, community sites).

Many of the “speakers” have submitted written posts or video content, and will be available online to discuss and advise delegates during the conference. Unfortunately I’m not available to participate in conversations on the conference days, but I have submitted a post about councils and Facebook. I’ll be checking the site and responding to comments later on next week.

I’ve not participated in an online conference like this before, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens and how people participate in the online space.

Anyway, if you’re interested in participating you’ll need to become a member of the communities of practice (it’s free) and then register for the Councillors Connected event here.