Liz Azyan has updated her list of UK local councils on Twitter. On April 11th 2009 there were 101 with Newcastle City Council having the most followers (1050). She has also started lists of US, Canadian and Australian local government on Twitter.
This is an interesting post from Simon Wakeman who is Head of Marketing at Medway Council in south east England, as well as a freelance communications consultant. It voices concerns that many of us have in using Facebook, not just within the public sector but also for commercial, private sector organisations. Although he says that he does not believe that Councils should have a presence on Facebook he thinks it is better that councils are trying Facebook rather than avoiding it altogether.
I suspect that the following from the posting will resonate with many people’s feelings about using Facebook in the professional environment:
“The oft-repeated adage about “build it and they will come” is as wrong on Facebook as it is anywhere else on the web.
Just because you have a presence on Facebook (whether it’s as a corporate body or for a specific service area), that doesn’t mean you’re automatically using Facebook to its greatest potential as a communications tool.
Try searching out people in your area using Facebook already. Look for groups that are concerned with your area. Try to spot activists among the groups – who seem the most active and vocal?
Once you’ve done this think about how to engage with these people appropriately – and I don’t mean send them a message saying “I see you’re from XXX, why not join our group?””
The discussion between readers and Simon in the Comments at the end of the article are also worth serious consideration.
Article from Dave Briggs blog looking at how Cambridgeshire County Council is using YouTube to encourage new councillors. The videos are of the leaders of the three main political groups on the Council saying why it is important for people to become involved in local government, but only the videos of the Labour and Lib Dems was available at the time of viewing (14th March 2009). The third, I assume from the Conservatives, had been “withdrawn by the user”. Anyone in Cambridgeshire know why that could be? Anything to with “County council set to consider code of conduct allegations against five councillors” in The Cambs Times http://tinyurl.com/ac69nm
Another useful listing from LizAzyan Research on what UK local councils are doing with respect to social media. As well as detailing which local councils are doing what on Facebook there is a nice table showing the difference between Facebook Fan Pages and Facebook Groups.
If Twitter is your preferred news medium and you want to keep up with what is happening locally, for example school closures due to bad weather, use Twitter / uklocalcouncils to track down your local council. A meagre twenty-two are currently listed and you can follow individual councils or all of them (uklocalcouncils). Content varies but usually includes news about jobs, changes to refuse and recycling collection dates, school closures and impact of severe weather conditions on local services.
This list of UK local council twitterers was compiled by Liz Azyan Research and is on the Local Government Engagement Online Research Blog. As well as giving Twitter details of 21 local councils, there is a Hall of Fame including the first council to start using Twitter (St Helens), newest council (Pembrokeshire) and the council with most followers (St Helens and Barnet). Also noted are councils using Twitter for particular service updates: Birmingham City Council Transport, Lichfield District Council Planning Applications and Leeds City Council Press Office