Further to posting this comment on The Herald website regarding the news piece on the use of spy accounts http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/council-chief-in-online-spy-accounts-row-is-suspended.16720638 (it needs to be moderated before being published and I don’t know when that will be), I thought that due to the fair amount of “buzz” it is receiving on Twitter, that I should give you visibility of my comment which puts the story into context. In the next few days, I also hope to get a number of the delegates that attended the event to also provided their comment and feedback on this story.

“It’s with increasing incredulity that I’ve followed your coverage of alleged comments made by a speaker at a very successful event in Glasgow five months ago.

As organiser of the event allow me to comment since you failed to have the courtesy to approach me in order to cast some much-needed light and balance onto the subject.

Jo Smith, of Argyll & Bute Council, was selected onto the panel because she has carved a sound reputation for her work with social media.

Far from the storm of outrage your report suggests there was not a single complaint about Jo’s presentation or comment on the day nor since. Looking back at feedback forms she topped the list with the highest rated feedback.

The phrase ‘spy accounts’ was featured in the presentation in speech marks deliberately as they referred informally to individuals  referring back what they’d seen elsewhere voluntarily rather than some dastardly plot. The phrase was given deliberate context in the conference. This is reflected by the complete absence of a complaint from anyone in the audience.

Believe me, with 12 years experience of running events across Britain let me assure you that delegates are not afraid of coming forward if they have a complaint.

Such is my strength of feeling over this I’m volunteering to take part in any investigation by Argyll & Bute Council which I trust will be more fair minded and methodical that the Glasgow Herald piece.

Against that we have a thus far unnamed source who I can’t confirm was even at the event, that never complained to me during or after the event, has all of a sudden decided to stop mulling it over and come forward now after five months. Strange also that your reporter never thought to contact those who organised it.

In the interests of transparency, may I remind people that Jo’s powerpoint presentation remains available to view at:  http://publicsectorweb.com/digital-engagement/documents/presentations-from-epic-social-media-scotland/ which is the official website of the conference.”

Nick Hill
Public Sector Web Network