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Why local government shouldn’t be on Facebook

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.

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March 14, 2009 - Posted by | Facebook | ,

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