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Council Communications & Social Media October 7, 2008

Posted by Kevupnorth in Uncategorized.

Simon Wakeman has blogged some really interesting stats around social media in local authority communications.  He does a sound analysis of them, so I want bother re-inventing the wheel, but I do want to add a few points.

Simon makes an important point that councils are trying to reach a broad range of people, so the less targeted, old fashioned tools may have advantages.  That’s true, but he is right that precisely because they need to reach everyone that they need to use a wider range of tools.  It was great to see community safety mentioned – it presents one of the most urgent and technology accessible areas of council work, but also one of the most technologically neglected.

It’s interesting to hear that many councils plan to use traditional social media (such as blogs) in the next six months.  However, the pace things are going, will that be an old hat then?  Strategies need to be evoloving and moving with the times to ensure that they stay abreast.  Blogs have been in use for a few years now, and a year is a long time in communications technology.  If councils are now thinking they may use them in a bit, that could be too little, too late.

Even when the communication doesn’t need targeting, social media is important.  I recently kept tabs on a national story about a local council.  It was staggering to me to see that, within a day, it was mentioned in well over a dozen blogs, it was Twittered about and debated about on forums.  I wanted to see the Counci’s response, but was unable to get it from their own website, let alone a blog.  Instead, I had to put quotes together from the various newspaper websites to take a guess about what they might have said.  We hear a lot about councils loosing control of a message with social media – but actually, don’t they loose control of it without it?

What was encouraging was to see MUVEs and social bookmarking were in use at some councils.  Clearly there is some light at the end of the tunnel.



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