Asking people in the room what social media tools they use, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Maybe ask what people think about them...
Social media is really about conversation, sharing formal and informal information. Gossip may seem trivial, but it’s an important part of the social fabric. Much of what takes place on social media may seem trivial, too – but a lot of it’s not...and when it’s about you, your organisation, your councillors – then it’s not trivial at all.
Social media is radically transforming where conversations can take place. It’s puts the power of publishing into anyone’s hands – a huge shift in the control of information. So we shouldn’t underestimate its importance, but we can’t imagine that it will solve everything either. Just as the printing press shook up power and information, it didn’t mean the world became rosy. And just as it’s easier to publish great things...it’s easier to publish nasty things too.
But the important thing is that social media isn’t necessarily Facebook or Twitter, it’s about extending connections and conversations. Making views more accessible and discoverable.
I’m going to provide a brief run-through of how social media is being used in the context of local government. These are just a few examples. Twitter – to communicate with each other and with consituents YouTube – here a councillor raps six local pledges (badly) but this garnered wider press and online coverage of the six LibDem pledges for their area Blogging: councillors have been blogging for a while – this is a great way of explaining views in more detail – some are more conversational, so more reportage. There are as many different styles as there are councillor blogs
Open mapping of grit bins in Sutton, to encourage ‘co-production’ Using social media monitoring tools to listen to what local people are saying for customer action, performance improvement and to take action Multi-media sites aimed at young people
This first example is actually a video produced by a Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnership for councils to put on their YouTube channels, but citizens will increasingly use the web to find out about councils and they may start from some unexpected places Neighbourhood social network. This is Harringay Online (the neighbourhood not the borough) it’s used to discuss local issues, local restaurants, more or life in that area – councils and councillors need to be aware of these expanding networks Help Me Investigate is a social network focused on helping people in the Birmingham area help each other get information from official sources. This could be as simple as navigating better information or it could be as complex as filing a freedom of information request and working together to use it. A fun example – this is a snowfall map on Twitter, using a simple rating system – and the first half of a post code, people were able to develop a fairly accurate picture of snowfall during recent snowfall.
The most important thing to remember is that Google is forever...that is...anything you publish online is still out there...even if you’ve deleted something, it still can and will show up in other people’s caches, feed readers and so on.
Cllrs 2010 Lgiu Standards Ik
Councillors and social media
What social media is and how to use it
Cllrs 10 - LGIU
4 February 2010
What is social media
Is it a collection of
• Free platforms such
as Blogger and
• Almost as easy as
• Really, really easy
blogging via services
like Posterous (just
• As much a listening
tool as a broadcasting
• Maybe a bit geeky?
• Important because
nodes of community
• Great source of intel
• More councillors use
Facebook than any
other social network (I
• Difficult to control the
• Excellent for
• Go split personality!
• Rarely used as sole
social media channel
• Brilliant for
people, events and
Sources of support
• www.civicsurf.org.uk a resource for
• www.ideasocial.wetpaint.com draft guide
to social media for councillors
• www.socialbysocial.com a primer for
harnessing social media for social good
• www.communities.idea.gov.uk IDeA’s
communities of practice network