10 Local Government Social Media | Social Media | Digital & Social Media

10 local government social media myths

February 17, 2009 — Ingrid Koehler In order for social media to be embraced by local government, I think we need to bust some social media myths: 1. You have to be (technical/ geeky/ a bit weird) to use social media. Millions and millions of otherwise ordinary people use YouTube and social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace. On the IDeA’s own social media platform -Communities of Practice - over 20,000 local government types are registered and that’s growing every day. You may have to be a little bit geeky to build some of the applications, but not always. Anyone can set up a blog in a few clicks. Anyone can upload a photo. Anyone can set up a profile or a group in Facebook. It does take a little expertise to get it all meshed into a good corporatelooking standard. But for individuals and local interest groups, there’s no such onus and it can be a powerful communication tool straight out of the box. Linked to this… 2. It’s all about tools Too often social media folk use the names of popular tools (like Twitter) to describe types of interaction and social networking. Unfortunately, that’s just the way things have evolved – a bit like vacuuming being described as Hoovering. Tools are the support, but people make the conversations. 3. It’s only young people who use social media, that’s where the key benefit in consultation is. Nah, not true. Younger folk may use it as a matter of course, but lots of “older people” use social media, too, and more and more are using it all the time. Here’s a nice link to headline demographics of MySpace, Facebook, Flickr and LinkedIn You do need to have a good idea of who’s congregated and where online though. And understand that some people just don’t want to engage this way. That’s ok. 4. It’s a big old waste of time. Human beings are amazing in their ability to waste time. But they don’t need social media to do it. People waste time browsing the Internet, emailing their friends, chatting about Formula 1, wandering around aimlessly holding a piece of paper. And people can waste time on social media, too. So before you go banning Facebook, make sure that council workers aren’t using it to check how people are discussing local issues and engage with local people. And anyway, so what an employee spends 5 minutes catching up with an old friend online, how much time are they spending answering emails, reading papers, going to community meetings in time that should be their own? Communicating and listening constructively is never a waste of time. 5. It’s too hard It’s not that hard. There are lots of easy ways to get started, and you can focus on doing one thing at a time – like Twitter or blogging or a Facebook page and getting to grips with doing it

well. And the great thing about social media is that there are a lot of very social people to turn to for help once you get started. 6. It’s easy Well, it is and it isn’t. Much of social media is easy and accessible. But good conversation, consultation, listening, facilitation and communication skills take time and effort to develop. We don’t expect people to find their public speaking voice the first time they step onto a stage. We don’t expect the first report someone ever writes to be a masterpiece. That doesn’t mean we don’t do it. And just because many people do these things, it doesn’t mean we don’t respect those people who do it well. There are skills and talents in social media and online facilitation which should not be taken for granted. And as Mark Evans explains in his 5 social media myths, there’s some hard slog, too: a successful social media campaign consists of working it every day and making small, but constant, gains. It means hours of effort to monitor, track and engage with people on dozens of platforms. 7. If we let people say anything, then they’ll say the worst thing A public sector site must never be the home of nasty vitriol, and ____ist diatribe or links to porn. And these are all things that can happen if you open up conversations on your own site. But most people are pretty responsible. Most people know what’s appropriate. Do we trust local people? We don’t let the random blow-hards and loudmouths stop us from holding public meetings. And we shouldn’t let the Internet equivalent stop us from holding public conversations in spaces online. Trust, but verify. Be prepared to step in and moderate. 8. Social media is too risky. What are the risks of not doing it? What are local people talking about? If you’re not listening to their message where they’re saying it, then you’re missing a trick and it’s a big reputational and service risk. On the flip side, mistakes will happen. Only by actively managing your approach to social media in an open environment can you hope to mitigate that. 9. You have to hire a flash consultant to make social media work. Local government is a big employer. Chances are there’s already somebody working within your council who is passionate about social media and they know local government already. Find those people and use them to build your approach. (and maybe hire some consultants as well, but beware there are few that understand the public sector and social media.) 10. It’s a replacement for traditional consultation and engagement The invention of the printing press and the development of political pamphlets never stopped the need for us to hear directly from thinkers and talk about it ourselves. True enough, as you gear up your social media some people which switch over from traditional means of consulting with you. But more likely, is that you start to get more and different people engaging with you. And I suspect that what also happens is that as you demonstrate that you’re listening online and support an active community, you’ll actually get more rather than fewer people turning up to that drafty hall on a wet Wednesday evening.

This, of course, has cost implications. But we either believe that democratic engagement has its own value and that involving people will make services more appropriate and therefore more efficient or we don’t. _______ I started drafting this and then saw the Mark Evans’ excellent 5 Social Media Myths and this inspired me to finish off the post. I almost must acknowledge Steve Radick’s fantastic Twenty Theses for Government 2.0 And I’m sure there are more myths that need busting as well. http://davepress.net/2010/03/17/social-media-resources-for-local-government/

Social media resources for Local Government
Posted on March 17, 2010 by Dave

A flurry of activity around social media this week from our chums at the Improvement and Development Agency.

The first thing is Local by Social, a rewriting of the excellent Social by Social by Andy Gibson. As the IDeA website states: Social media is changing the world in which we work, socialise and govern. From Twitter to eBay, Facebook to YouTube, new tools are emerging every year that place the connecting power of the internet in the hands of every one of us. In this context, the expectations on councils to engage, work openly, be accountable and move more quickly on issues are growing. Meanwhile, councils are facing the biggest cuts in spending in the post-war period and are being asked to do more with less just as demands from local people are rising. Higher expectations combined with drastically fewer resources make the imperative to innovate critical. A new set of tools is needed to meet this challenge. This document outlines how local authorities can use social media to achieve more for less. It also highlights the risk to councils if they ignore the technological advances of social media and the people using them.

how to embrace social networking in local government
by pamela weaver antil http://webapps.icma.org/pm/9109/public/cover2.cfm?author=pamela%20weaver %20antil&title=how%20to%20embrace%20social%20networking%20in%20local %20government

If you have picked up this issue of PM magazine and are younger than 30, you are likely already an expert at navigating social media and social networking in your personal life. But whether you've struggled to understand blogs and Twitter or find them old hat, applying them to the daily practice of government is still a valid question. Whether you see yourself as old-fashioned or on the cutting edge, if you aren't using tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, or Plaxo at work, you may soon be called a dinosaur for not connecting with the vast number of potential contacts in your extended network worldwide. And if your organization has not created a fan page on these sites, you may be missing out on the fastestgrowing, hottest way to communicate and connect with your community. Intrigued? Read on. . . As we look back over our careers as public administration professionals, many of us remember our offices evolving from carbon paper to copier machines, from typewriters to computers, and from receiving letters and phone calls to receiving e-mail requests and calls for service. In fact, many public administrators have seen a decline in "live and in person" participation at public meetings, focus groups, or other venues where we seek the public's input on important topics related to budget, planning, and public safety. BlackBerry smartphones, texting, and instant messages keep us even more connected to our business contacts and our community members—albeit sometimes at the expense of our personal lives and downtime. But all and all, these tools have allowed our organizations to respond to the mandate of better, faster, cheaper. The companion article on social media and social networking written by City Manager Rick Cole of Ventura, California, highlights the social media phenomenon and its uses to engage citizen participation. This article highlights the importance of that article's sister topic—social networking.

What Is a Social Network?

"A Nielson Report on Social Networking's New Global Footprint" published in March 2009 by The Nielson Company. business groups like chambers of commerce and Rotary. villages. we need to be able to do this effectively but less expensively than traveling the globe. These networks were highly important and. the extent of social networking was your neighbors over the fence in the back. A virtual meeting through teleconferencing is one tool that is used. and LinkedIn. created that sense of community many of us serving in local government long to re-create in the cities. knowledge. and the like. In fact. financial exchange. 4) member communities. and counties we serve. 3) software manufacturers. e-mail. This is especially true for people aged 35 and younger. to name a few. This proves to be even more difficult as many of our colleagues and community members wish to be engaged electronically through our websites. likes. A social network is simply a social structure made up of nodes (generally individuals or organizations) that are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency such as friendship. most popular activities on the Internet. in many ways. I can do this through a series of introductions that link me from John Smith all the way to Bob Brown. and maybe across the street.In the not-too-distant past. and 5) e-mail. have extended our business contacts beyond people in the immediate vicinity to contacts with coworkers and colleagues around the globe. at Nielson Online. citizen police academies. and prestige. building these networks is critical. but that is only after the essential business contact is made. relationships (professional or personal). dislikes. December 2007 to December 2008. In fact. townships. such member-community sites as MySpace and Facebook account for almost 10 percent of all Internet time according to the recent report. and I want to meet Bob Brown to discuss the possibility of moving some operations to my city. and program and service participants from recreation. This information was provided by the Global Index. 2) general interest portals. beliefs. If I know John Smith from the city of Anywhere. In these times of increasingly complex business being conducted globally with local contacts. By the way. The next wave of communications technology that we can't ignore as public administrators is technology-based social networking opportunities. These sites have a growth rate more than twice that of any of the other largest. The idea is simple. Plaxo. Such a meeting is much harder to achieve if you know whom you need to meet but have not been introduced to that individual or organization. You never know when you might need to call on a friend of a colleague in another city to help with a project or assignment. No one argues that networking is not important or is not a good business tool. employment. and Sally happens to know Bob Brown from the Big Company That Is Expanding in the Midwest. Some believe these sites are entirely social in nature. and other technology. our networks included community activists. and both sides of the house. but these networks actually give us the ability to connect with even more members of our communities and our professional colleagues for business purposes. these were the same people who ratted you out to your parents if they saw an infraction that you somehow slipped by your family! As we became adults serving in the public sector. Facebook. and he knows Sally Jones from the Anywhere Economic Development Authority. These local networks remain important today but are harder to engage. . including 1) search.

Just like using a map to help you get to a destination you haven't been to before. the Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus wrote. As a participant adds more information to a personal profile. and. Most individual networks have huge potential for business contacts. Both candidates of the two major parties used LinkedIn. change is a constant in most of our lives. Protecting Your Privacy For many of us. Because of the power of these tools. Facebook. we saw an explosion of their potential during the 2008 presidential campaigns. but they were hidden from you before. Post only what you'd want your board. the sites are NOT private. both personally and professionally. On a much smaller scale. Thousands of years ago. places to live. the potential network grows. but no less important. But they are only as valuable as the personal connections you can see. . Recruiters do look at these sites. these sites allow you to connect with your hidden network more easily. Given the pace of innovation. social media and networking have changed our lives in some meaningful way. council. Incidentally. Your page is the equivalent of your digital résumé. so make sure it's accurate. parents. too. it is important to remember these tips as you enter into the world of social networking: • • • No matter what type of password protection you have. By adding them to your network through John Smith. "A hidden connection is stronger than an obvious one. the LinkedIn network "suggests" contacts who you may know. and the like. Sally and Bob were always in your extended network because they were connected to you through John Smith. By linking to others through these sites. social media is changing the world—and for the good. most recently. as you add more colleagues by e-mail. Perhaps we've reunited with a college or high school friend. MySpace." He was on to something! Technology provided by LinkedIn. membership in ICMA is tailor-made for such sharing of contacts because LinkedIn and Facebook offer ICMA member groups. There are numerous examples of the great variety of uses of these sites. information related to jobs. and similar social networking sites allows the type of introductions described in the example not only several states away but also internationally. and Facebook to connect to millions of social networking users to open a virtual dialogue with extended networks of supporters and critics. Collectively. How to Join a Social Network Most social networking sites are free to join. AND spouse or life partner to see. Maybe a professional colleague introduced you to a business contact that led to a new job. Your potential grows because you can see not only your personal friends and professional contacts on these sites but their personal friends and professional contacts. In addition. that part of your network is no longer hidden and is suddenly more useful. local government can use this technology to engage citizens in community dialogues.The idea behind extended connections and their usefulness is not new. supervisor. your personal network grows to include other useful colleagues and contacts—like Sally Jones and Bob Brown whom you've met through John Smith in the above example.

we as public professionals need to anticipate these changes in communication expectations and if we haven't already. or person. media relations. taking for granted that they will be connected globally to thousands of people. If you want to connect "live" with a contact. When in doubt. facebook. • • • • The generations behind us will inherit a world profoundly changed by technology and the social media movement. .• • Remove any objectionable images. View her profile and connect with her via LinkedIn or Facebook. engagement. had more calls. local government. social. videos Over the past six months I’ve picked up an increasing interest in social media among public sector communicators. Musing about an upcoming election is not a good idea. Avoid providing too much personal information about your home and family on information and profile pages. Novi. join the social networking movement. a professional colleague. Apply the ICMA ethical standards when considering posting recommendations or promoting an event. Michigan (pantil@cityofnovi. or information that other people might post on your page or your wall.pdf Why local government shouldn’t be on Facebook34 Tags: communication.simonwakeman. Do not use your page or wall to vent about last night's meeting.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Local-Government-Web-2-0Survey-Analysis. it is legal to do so in order to ensure that information they are providing does not reflect negatively on the organization as a whole. Pamela Weaver Antil is the assistant city manager. Teens today are already constantly communicating electronically and will mature into adults with the same expectations. government.org). The possibilities are endless. emails and tweets about this than I did this time last year – there’s clearly a recognition that social media has an important role to play in local government and more generally public sector communications. I’ve met more people. Social media. contact Martha Perego at ICMA (mperego@icma. ideas. communicators. http://www. public+sector. Much like the transition from mailed letters to e-mail and from newsletters to website updates. communications. ved. communicate "off grid" by telephone or e-mail to identify an address and phone number for someone. View the pages of government staff. Most councils are still dipping a tentative toe in the water with social media – trying to see what they can and can’t do and see what’s working for others. vendor.org) for further guidance on protocol and related ethics issues. using social networks. Yes. People have been terminated over rants on their networking sites and blogs. or a business or company. Twitter. medway. comments.

I think it’s the wrong approach and I think it misses the point about the way people interact on social networks. be replicating membership of an offline group (eg by signing up to a sports club’s page) or be part of a shared interest movement (eg by signing up to a campaign or political group’s page). I think it’s better that councils are trying Facebook rather than avoiding it altogether. but I’m not convinced of the worth of corporate pages as a communications and engagement tool. There’s no real world basis for the creation of an online community. whatever the appropriate phrase is) organisations. They might be fans in the muscial or film sense (eg by signing up to a band’s page). So what should councils do on Facebook? Well I think there are two areas that councils should be focussing on: 1) Create Facebook pages for things people care about Think about those things your council does that people care most about. More on Twitter soon. but I’ve been thinking about how local government should be using Facebook. Their pages usually feature a mix of aggregated content from other sources. They become a fan because they want to and because they care in some way. And that’s why I think councils that set up corporate pages on Facebook aren’t going to experience much success.In particular at the moment it seems that Facebook and Twitter are the two social media tools that are attracting most attention. clubs etc on Facebook and other social networks because they have an emotional bond of some description with that entity. they have that emotional or empathetic reaction about many of the services that their local council provides them. but we have used Facebook groups to promote festivals and theatres – as we know that the customers for these services do have a sense of belonging with the service and so there’s a basis for an online community to form. Which do they feel most involved or engaged with? Where might there be a shared interest that would naturally lead to the creation of an online community? What do people care most about? What are the most active issues that are concerning residents in your area? In Medway we’ve not created an official Facebook presence for the council. There are already many councils that have set up a page on Facebook for their council – and have attracted “fans” with varying degrees of success. photos. . All of these conscious choices by individuals using social networks are done because they have some empathetic or emotional relationship with the entity to which the page belongs. I’m sure they’ll get a growing number of “fans” as the numbers using the social network grow. as my observations are about councils generally rather than any specific council – and to be really clear. How does this sit with a local council? In the real world I’m not convinced people have such a bond with their council as a corporate body – yes. But my real concern is that I don’t think councils should have a presence on Facebook for themselves as a council. movements. People using social networks befriend (or fan. videos and a scattering of comments and the odd response from the council. I’m not going to mention names here. but not about the council as a whole.

but focussing on desirable and undesirable behaviours gives a degree of “future-proofing” for a social media policy. guidelines. rather than a hindrance. important. If handled sensitively. public sector organisation. rather than tools. Look for groups that are concerned with your area. but more on that in a later post. Try searching out people in your area using Facebook already. most people will be impressed their council is engaging residents directly through social media – and once you have established a relationship with key activists or players in the local social network scene. local government. http://www.com/2009/02/25/why-local-government-shouldnt-be-on-facebook/ Sample social media policies17 Tags: communications. why not join our group?” – the skills and subtleties of engaging with residents through social media are as complicated as the more traditional media relations that councils are so familiar with. Intel . Written carefully a policy should be an enabler.Once you’ve created a page there’s lots more to think about – like how you’re going to manage and develop the community and ensure the council is actively engaging with the page’s fans. policies. that doesn’t mean you’re automatically using Facebook to its greatest potential as a communications tool. as well as helping protect the organisation against some of the risks of using social media. Social media An important part of managing the impact of social media on an organisation is having an effective social media policy for staff. 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. It should help encourage staff to use social media tools in a way that’s appropriate to their role and help managers have confidence in this use. of course. I’m also a firm believer that a social media policy needs to focus on behaviours. A good policy helps staff understand what they can and can’t do with social media at work. 2) Reaching out to existing users 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).simonwakeman. There’s far more to it than creating a page and loading it up with council content I’m afraid – but the rewards for doing it properly will include reaching and engaging with parts of the community that traditional council communications struggle to reach. then you have the platform to start using that network to spread council messages in a credible and effective way. Regular review of policies is.

They reference other codes that staff need to be aware of and make the organisation’s expectations of its staff clear. the Devon policy is one of the best I’ve come across in the local government sector. They also offer positive guidance about what constitutes “good” and “meaningful” online engagement which should help encourage constructive use of social media. I think local government in particular may need a stronger line on this because of the role of non-political officers in delivering public service in line with policy – this makes the issue of personal points of view in contradiction to corporate policy more challenging. . Gartner public web participation guidelines Similar to the Intel guidelines. It also tackles the thorny issue of an individual posting content that could be seen to contradic a corporate position on a particular issue.These guidelines do a good job on focussing on activities rather than specific tools. Devon County Council social media and online participation policy and guidelines A bit closer to home for public sector communicators. but equally a “copy and paste” approach won’t work either as every organisation is different and will have subtly differing things they need to achieve with their policy. but I’m not convinced how useful these would be in practice – although some guidance is better than none at all However these have the feeling of something that’s been negotiated by numerous committees and through that process of negotiation and amendment has been oversimplified to reach agreement. The more detailed guidelines by channel are useful in helping officers interpreting what behaviours the organisation consider acceptable and unacceptable without being overly prescriptive. There’s nothing in there that’d I’d disagree with. I like the fact they’ve got a clear definition of scope and some underlying principles that can be interpreted by officers depending on the tool they’re using. The only aspect that I think is missing from the policy (and this may well be because it’s somewhere else in the organisation – that’s alluded to in the context of youth engagement) is how the council manages its service presences on social media – who is allowed to set up what presences? Can officers do their own thing or is there a approval or regulation process that needs to be followed? For any organisation looking to draft a policy there’s a lot to learn from what other organisations have written. I also like the way the Intel guidelines make clear that responsibility for what staff use social media for lies with staff – it makes ownership clear while also making strong links with the impact that staff use of social media can have on the organisation’s reputation as a whole. but advice to civil servants about how the existing Civil Service Code applies to social media. I’d be interested to know how useful these guidelines are for civil servants working in this space – I suspect there may be departmental policies that provide more specific guidance on applications of social media relevant to a particular service. While I like the approach. these are focussed on ensuring productive use of social media and draw a clear link between use of social media and delivery of business benefits for the company. For public sector organisations writing a social media policy I think it’s important that this link is made – to reduce potentially time-wasting but well-intentioned use of social media that doesn’t contribute to productive outcomes for a particular service. UK Civil Service Strictly speaking these aren’t a full set of guidelines.

The nature of the social web means new networks and influencers can emerge rapidly. social networks. For email alerts try Tweetbeep. It’s focussed on the business of proactively and reactively managing reputation through social media channels. local government. google. please post them in the comments here so the local public service communications community can benefit from your find! http://www. . Once you’ve got the audit out of the way. facebook. nielsen. This post sets out a three-step model to effective social media relations in local government.If these aren’t enough food for thought you can find even more information and comprehensive lists of social media policies here and here. conversations.com/2009/12/07/sample-social-media-policies/ Three steps to effective local government social media relations24 Tags: communication. tracking. Try to understand who the key players are in these networks – what are their positions on issues that your organisation rates as important? How do these people link into existing offline networks of influence? This audit can be quite a time-consuming piece of work and is only a snapshot of a particular time.simonwakeman. The purpose is to identify key influencers and networks that exist online and relate to a local area. Social media. RSS. Twitter Search – keyword and advanced search of Twitter messages. There are plenty of paid-for solutions out there. website This is the second in a two-part series of posts. blogs and online news sites. Yesterday’s post explored some background into social media relations in local government and local public services. media relations. reputation. local public services. but I don’t think that negates the importance of doing a proper online environmental audit on a regular basis. but here are a few free services that can be used to set up a basic online/social media monitoring service: • • Google Alerts – particularly good for “normal” websites. The first is to undertake an audit of the local internet scene. Twitter. email alerts and RSS feeds. technorati. it’s time to think about setting up some regular online monitoring. This involves deep research into local websites and local presences on key social media platforms. monitoring. Provides web interface and RSS feeds. I think there are two parts to this when it comes to social media (and indeed the online world more generally). Provides web interface. Step 1: Monitoring The first step to doing social media relations properly has got to be to have a good understanding of the environment in which you’re operating – just as you’d undertake an environmental audit at the start of any communications project. email. If you’ve got any more policies worth sharing.

Backtype – good for tracking conversations in comments on blogs. Includes RSS feeds and email alerts. Nielsen Blogpulse – blog-focussed. What happens next? It can be tempting to leap straight to the conclusion that a response is the right solution. Used to be one of my favourites. issues. Web based search and RSS feeds available. Social media firehose – a raw Yahoo Pipes mash-up allowing you to search a whole bunch of social media sites effectively. including bookmarks. There will often be overlap between results from different sources that arrive at different times that require careful reading and intepretation. Socialmention – billed as “Google Alerts for social media”. However even with this wide range of tools at your disposal. organisations – and learn how to write more advanced search queries on each tool to eliminate unwanted results from your searches. . RSS. It’s also worth thinking about having accounts set up on key social networks that you can use to join groups – so that you receive notifications of group activities that don’t show up in normal searches. • • • • • • • (I don’t claim this list is by any means comprehensive. RSS feeds. but with plenty of trend and other analytics. but now’s the time to sit back and assess what’s been said. Technorati – blog-focussed. Offers RSS feed and email alerts. this sites covers a broad range of social media properties. Email alerts only. However this can be uncomfortable and potentially risky if officers need to use an identifiably personal account (that they may use primarily for their own personal home use) to join what could be controversial issue-related groups on a social network.• Facebook search – search people. Main issue here is that I haven’t yet found a reliable alerting system for Facebook so regular manual searching seems like the only option (this is probably because FB want to keep people on their site as much as possible – so search results aren’t exposed much through the site API). BoardReader – forum-focussed search engine. although haven’t paid a lot of attention to these so far. but these are the services that I’ve used over the past few years. but doesn’t seem to pick up keywords as quickly/widely as Google Alerts on blogs now. groups and places. but particularly useful as it includes MySpace results. Step 2: Assessment So you’ve got a pretty refined alerting system in place and you spot some social media coverage that sets alarm bells ringing. by whom and how. leave them in the comments below. email alertts and other options available. Web based search and RSS feeds available. email alerts and downloadable results.) When setting up alerts. Icerocket – quite a broad search engine. Also has some sentiment and other metrics. names of key people. If you have any more must-have free social media monitoring services. Web-based search. Consider places. there’s no substitute for manually reviewing the results. no RSS. pages. Offers webbased search interface. it’s worth thinking broadly about the terms you need to monitor on.

where there are a large number of people critical of the organisation. I’d suggest a few principles that you must keep to: . Indeed for some tricky situations I think it’s preferable to try to have a direct telephone conversation with the person involved – this can help eliminate some of the misunderstandings that can creep into written electronic communications and can help establish a more personal relationship than is possible purely online. the more likely your need to engage with them online to achieve your communications goals. Regardless of the type of response you choose to make. I think you need to be prepared to then engage in the inevitable subsequent online conversations that follow – to not do so could give the impression that the organisation isn’t prepared to genuinely engage and undermine the intent and purpose of the original intervention. I’m assuming here that as a communicator a mandate exists for you to engage with social media participants – which ideally would be something specifically enabled in the organisation’s social media or communications protocol. For example this could mean asking for someone’s email address so that you can have a more considered and lengthy exchange of messages than is possible or practical on say Facebook or Twitter. for example. there are three outcomes to consider: • • • ignore and do nothing monitor and review regularly – and maybe if the content spreads or develops consider a different outcome actively engage Step 3: Action So if your assessment is that you need to act. Similarly if the content is obviously a joke. Sometimes if the purpose of responding is to correct misleading or incorrect information. You also need to consider whether you can engage online – in local government there are restrictions on. abusive. The assessment also needs to take account of that person’s influence – how influential are they in the networks you’ve identified in your local online audit? The more influential they are. critical comments)? If they are. It’s better to try to take the conversation forward with key influencers in the group either privately or on other channels. either in the same place as the original coverage or on your own social media presence (and then placing a link as close as possible to the original coverage). Having thought through all these factors. is it worth responding? In my experience it probably isn’t and tends to just incite further critical coverage. However if you do this. it’s time to think about the appropriate way to do this.Is the person involved a troll (someone with a history of persistent narky. it may be the right course of action to post directly in response. isn’t to wade into the public discussion to try to advance your case. officers engaging in a political debate. taking the mick or satirical. In my experience the best way to deal with an “angry mob” situation. a response probably isn’t the right solution. If your assessment is that a particular issue could be construed as politically sensitive then remember the limits to your ability to respond as an apolitical officer.

it’s out there on the internet and there’s no retraction – so you must be happy that what you’ve produced might be published in public (even if it was sent as a private message). but you need to match the tone of your response to the environment into which it’s being published. We are working through a process and have already conducted an equality impact and needs assessment as part of our commitment to equality and diversity in DCC. http://www. It oversimplifies a lot of pretty complex and judgement-based decisions but hopefully provides a basic framework on which more complicated processes can be developed. the broad policy and supplementary guidance which i will post separately. breaks professional codes of conduct and will most likely backfire when someone traces the comment back to you or your organisation Timing – social media moves fast and if not addresses quickly enough. • • • Once you’ve completed your response. and after the 2 events i have attended. Don’t publish in haste and take out unnecessary passion – if in doubt. Tone and style – it feels like heresy saying this as someone responsible for corporate style.simonwakeman. it’s time to tweak your monitoring to include potential impacts of your response and then start the whole cycle over again. And the chances are writing in corporate style or (even worse) unintelligible public sector jargon won’t be at all appropriate. This three-step model is my initial stab at setting out a methodology for handling social media relations in the local public sector. they have given me a virtual kick in the bum to get on with it. To not do so is unethical. forwarded on and thrown back at you. Feel free to adapt .• Transparency – disclose who you are and who you work for. 2009 UPDATED -April 2010 – Revised version of Social Media Policy and Guidance now published ——————————— I have been meaning to republish this for some time now. This will come in 2 parts. ask a colleague to read it before hitting send. quoted. interpreted. I’d be really interested in readers’ thoughts.com/2009/09/11/three-steps-to-effective-localgovernment-social-media-relations/ Final Draft – Social Media and Online Participation Policy and Guidelines by Carl Haggerty on May 1. YouTube has a different feel to its language than say Facebook or Twitter – your response needs to acknowledge this in the way it’s written. This means having the organisational processes in place to respond quickly and accurately – who needs to sign off social media responses? Considered – once you’ve made your response. comments and challenges to this model in the comments below. the story can develop well beyond its original scope.

wiki. social media involves the building of communities or networks. disclose your position as a representative of your directorate. remember that you are an ambassador for your organisation. share it with others where appropriate. However. defamation. Be responsible. online social network or any other form of online publishing or discussion is his or her own decision. Examples include podcasts. as are the pitfalls. fair. Never give out personal details like home address and phone numbers. copyright and data protection laws apply. encouraging participation and engagement. Wherever possible. but the term encompasses other platforms. Other terms which may be used in a similar context include ‘social software’.0’. If you have any doubts. Whether or not a DCC employee chooses to create or participate in a blog. customers and our partners. Also be aware that you may attract media interest in you as an individual. and thorough and make sure you are doing the right thing. ‘social computing’ and ‘Web 2.us). opinions. YouTube). The following guidelines are there to provide you with information to make responsible decisions and to get the best out of the tools available.icio. General Guidelines Blogs are perhaps the most well known example of social media. social bookmarking websites (such as del. For convenience we use ‘social media’ throughout. take advice from your line manager.Introduction ‘Social media‘ is the term commonly given to websites and online tools which allow users to interact with each other in some way – by sharing information. often depending on which sector is discussing it. The opportunities are indeed there. be honest at all times and when you gain insight. bebo. Principles These principles apply to your online participation and sets out the standards of behaviour expected as an employee of the Council. Be credible. As the name implies. ‘wikis’ (such as Wikipedia). message boards. MySpace) and content sharing websites (such as flickr. Remember. The growing popularity of social media has attracted the attention of companies and individuals who believe that these platforms open up new opportunities for communication. so proceed with care whether you are participating in a business or a personal capacity. social networking websites (such as facebook. you should participate in the same way as you would with other media or public forums such as giving presentations. • • Always remember that participation online results in your comments being permanently available and open to being republished in other media. knowledge and interests. ‘Social media’ can be referenced in a variety of ways. . be accurate. • Be professional. emerging online collaboration platforms are fundamentally changing the way DCC employee’s work and engage with each other. department or team. Stay within the legal framework and be aware that libel.

8.Don’t pick fights. personal insults. If you publish content to any website outside of DCC and it has something to do with work you do or services associated with DCC. If you identify yourself as a DCC employee. 5. As an employee. obscenity. it is important as an employee to be aware that posting information about your company can not be isolated from your working life. wikis or any other form of user-generated media. You must make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of DCC.Be aware of your association with DCC in online spaces. Know and follow DCC’s Employee Code of Conduct. Don’t cite or reference customers. when relevant. Ask and seek permission to publish or report on conversations that are meant to be private or internal to DCC. where possible link back to the source. Identify yourself—name and. be the first to correct your own mistakes. Respect your audience. Please note: Failure to comply with the above guidelines may result in disciplinary action . And write in the first person.Try to add value. 6. and don’t alter previous posts without indicating that you have done so. ensure your profile and related content is consistent with how you wish to present yourself with colleagues and customers. role at DCC—when you discuss DCC or DCC related matters. 2. 12. While such cases may be rare. Any information published online can be accessed around the world within seconds and will be publicly available for all to see. 9. Respect copyright. Be mindful that what you publish will be public for a long time—protect your privacy. When you do make a reference. your colleagues or commitments to customers. 11. Understand your responsibilities identified in the Social Media and Online Participation Principles and Policy 3. DCC’s brand is best represented by its people and what you publish may reflect on DCC’s brand.” 7. 4.People have been dismissed because of their online activities. fair use and financial disclosure laws. Don’t forget your day job. You should also show proper consideration for others’ privacy and for topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory—such as politics and religion. DCC Employee’s are personally responsible for the content they publish on blogs. use a disclaimer such as this: “The views expressed here are my own and don’t necessarily represent the views of the County Council. partners or suppliers without their approval. Don’t use ethnic slurs. Provide worthwhile information and perspective. See acceptable behaviour policy and equality and diversity policy 10. You must ensure that your online activities do not interfere with your job. [added 4th June] If you are not using the sites/tools to support you directly in your employed position you should always access the sites/tools in your personal time. or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in the workplace. you must take the following into consideration when using social media: 1.

Financial pressure will make councils seriously consider what services they can afford and see as priorities for their specific local areas – Total Place will drive an approach which will inevitably bring 3rd sector and communities themselves to the table as service providers in some instances. so would need to look at a shared arrangement for cloud services or even a public sector cloud – The Government Cloud is obviously driving people’s thinking here and will have a huge impact. deliver shared services and this isn’t just neighbouring councils. So let me try to explain this in a bit more detail and why I think we are already moving towards this future. The cloud is having an impact on ICT services in councils – it is clear that the level of transformation required will require additional investment in ICT but it is unlikely that a single council could justify the spend on its own. Earlier this week I met up with Steve Dale and Hadley Beeman for a couple of drinks as I was in London for a Knowledge Hub meeting.com/2009/05/01/final-draft-social-media-and-online-participationpolicy-and-guidelines/ The Future of Local Government… by Carl Haggerty on June 4.wordpress. we are really pushing towards regional shared service providers as well as joining up with 3rd sector agencies to provide and deliver public services. In the conversation I referred to a model that I had been thinking about which was that the Future of Local Government is purely a conceptual layer of Government. The drive for open data will allow a greater level of local innovation by social innovators and entrepreneurs and in some instances delivering council services directly and in a more usable and useful way (FixMyStreet etc). A greater push for more local involvement in decision-making and greater transparency to enable citizens to provide scrutiny and shape services directly. In some ways I am relishing the challenges ahead as it will only lead to radical thought and eventually transformation across the sector.http://carlhaggerty. The Impact . Central Government’s success with Directgov could be seen as a model for local government to drive out efficiencies and cost savings for local government transactional services – either through an enhanced LocalDirectgov portal or directly offered through Directgov. The Drivers Huge pressures on Local Government to join up. 2010 I have been thinking a lot recently about the future of local government not just because I work in local government but because I am really interested in how we (all local government people) are going to tackle the pressures and financial constraints put upon us.

2010 I want to continue on the theme of my last post on the Future of Local Government and look at how this is shaping up and what we can do in government to enable it to happen more dynamically and effectively for the benefit of everyone. But this approach in my opinion would drive out the inefficiencies in local government and offer greater local involvement in service design and creation.com/2010/06/04/the- The Future of Local Government Part 2 – Social Enterprise Council by Carl Haggerty on June 9. In my view this will be a great outcome. For the context of this post social enterprise means – those businesses that create products and services that help people in a variety of ways while staying true to certain moral and social principles. albeit very painful and a political hot potato in some areas. So what I think I am actually saying is that we will be moving to a “Social Enterprise Council” model – this is not really new or even radical as you will learn as you continue reading this post. It is important to remember that when I refer to a conceptual layer – what I really mean is that it will become harder to identify a single organisation responsible for delivering public services in a given area. . To me this will mean that local government is purely going to be a conceptual layer – with greater transparency and openness. The organisation behind it all could well be a mix of local. private sector. regional. So to recap briefly in my last post I attempted to outline the drivers and impacts of a number of significant pressures facing the public sector as a whole and came to the conclusion albeit not a radical one that Local Government will only be a conceptual layer of government that will only have a key role in decision-making and accountability – the service provision layer will be a mix of joined up public services. uncoordinated and duplicating functions. radical approaches to service delivery and support services.wordpress. national and cloud based services all supporting an individual worker (who may not actually be employed by the council) to deliver a service to someone in a community.I don’t believe it will be that long before we see it – where the only aspect of local government which is truly local is the actual service delivery and decision making. So we could get to a situation (I am making some big assumptions here but after all I’m only sharing some thinking) . voluntary providers and some of it hosted in the cloud as part of the wider technology infrastructure. I could of course be wrong about this future-of-local-government/ ) http://carlhaggerty.In my view what all of the above essentially does and could lead to will be the complete breaking down of local government as individual organisations unconnected. As long as there are clear accountable links to decision makers and funding (where appropriate) local government will in all essence disappear and will just become part of the community and its capability to provide or support services. this will all mean that the only aspect of local we really need to focus on will be the People in the Community.

While users of services run by the “co-operative” council would not become shareholders. The 4 super powers that gamers have are: Urgent Optimism – extreme self motivation – a desire to act immediately to tackle an obstacle combined with the belief that we have a reasonable hope of success. Lambeth could borrow ideas from the way John Lewis is structured as it becomes a “co-operative council”. but i do think that currently we don’t engage people well enough to activate any desire they may have. value the same goal – this enables us to create stronger social relationships as a result Blissful productivity – an average World of Warcraft gamer plays 22 hours a week: We are optimised as humans to work hard and if we could channel that productivity into solving real world problems what could we achieve? Epic meaning – attached to an awe-inspiring mission. The Local Government Information Unit’s (LGIU) Blog made some comments on this approach in comparison to the Barnet “Easy” Council model. Citizen involvement in prioritising services is absolutely essential and it is clear that user involvement is a key element of this model.So some observations: . the people of Lambeth will be asked to get involved in the running of all their services along the lines of John Lewis and other “mutuals”. it requires everyday people to start thinking less about “public” services and more about “community” services and how they can get involved directly through volunteering or indirectly by sharing their views on what’s important to them. is already running Lambeth’s leisure centres. …Greenwich Leisure. an employee-owned company. To foster and encourage this kind of active involvement requires a major shift in how people see public services.I guess the most practical example for illustrative purposes is Lambeth Council in London who in February this year announced that they would become a “John Lewis Council”. being promoted by Tessa Jowell. I also have some reservations about the John Lewis model. I do agree that there is a huge assumption that the general public wold be willing to take over services. Lambeth already has more tenant-run estates than any other London borough. with the possibility of financial recompense further down the line. In the video she talks about “gamers” and the super powers they have developed and how these super powers can help us solve the worlds problems. …. The article in the Guardian outlines the approach and benefits the council believes will be realised – in particular in states: …Under the plans. but I am yet to be convinced that citizens would want to be involved in the actual delivery of services. I think back to a recent post of mine about the World of GovCraft where I comment on a video of Game designer Jane McGonigal who spoke about harnessing the power of game mechanics to make a better world. Social Fabric – We like people better when we play games with people – it requires trust that people will play by the same rules. All this creates Super Empowered Hopeful Individuals – People who are individually capable of changing the world – but currently only online /virtual worlds…. Two Brixton housing estates are about to join a national grouping of tenant-run estates. the Cabinet Office minister.

The reality of the financial situation will mean that the threat is more real than ever. this is an attempt to unify people to a common agenda and common purpose which previously didn’t really exist in my view. This mission can no longer be just the responsibility of a single local authority. The government have announced that they want citizens to contribute ideas to how we can save money and which services we should consider reducing funding on. reconnect people locally and to provide services which meet the needs of local people. I think we need to connect the digitally mobile and engaged with the offline folk who traditional get involved to create richer conversations and deeper discussions about how we can shape local services. we need to think hard and fast about how we can develop the right kinds of games to engage people and to involve people in shaping their future and solving common problems So let me try to answer these questions now in the light of this post.If people have “Urgent Optimism” then what are we doing to tap into that to help solve and tackle obstacles? if people have a “Social Fabric” what we are we doing to build trust with them and do we play by the same rules and share the same goals? If people have “Blissful Productivity” then what are we doing to mobilise and optimise the people around us in our communities to work hard at solving real world problems If people can be inspired around “Epic Meaning” what meaning are we providing in our engagement and participation offering? We should recognise that games are powerful in more ways than we can imagine. Urgent Optimism – The budget cuts in the public sector will mean that some services will no longer be offered or developed – if people (you or I) see these services as important and we want them to continue we will have to start getting involved or risk losing it altogether. I’m not saying that the responses are enough but there is something we can build on and develop further to really engage with people. More importantly we need people to come forward and start asking about managing services only then will we really understand what is involved and what the unique local circumstances of each community/social enterprise offers.wordpress. I do think however we need to go a lot further and start talking and acting more local. Blissful Productivity – Social tools are be used albeit sparingly to help mobilise people to get involved and contribute to solving the real world problems we are facing.com/2010/06/09/thefuture-of-local-government-part-2-social-enterprise-council/ . http://carlhaggerty. Epic Meaning – The mission we have created is to reunite society. we need to go further and inspire through the 4 areas listed above and dig deeper into peoples motivations. AS i said earlier the idea of a Social Enterprise Council is not new or radical – The challenge is how we empower people to actually care enough to take direct action. Social Fabric – The government has made a big play during the election campaign and since about the Big Society.

sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges". Twitter and even YouTube are a natural reaction on the part of councillors and council officers to an expanding world of instant communication that many don't understand and others would simply prefer to ignore. The first of these. purposeful disinformation. even the brightest and most positive news stories from the public sector rarely attract the traffic they might deserve. The council offered the reason for this appointment as: "Increasing visibility. that the proliferation of local weblogs. Efforts to leverage the social networking phenomenon of Facebook. building our brand and learning about our audiences by utilising social media. .Can social media save local government? Simon Moores Monday 28 September 2009 18:16 The great Ernest Hemingway once said: "There is no rule on how to write. one which may yet capture the interest of local authorities across the country. this may sound like one more extravagant example of a wild idea being funded by the public finances. allegation and occasionally. often repeated as fact without proper checks by the local media. Most lately. local government publications can normally be found somewhere near the bottom of any bedtime book choice. which advertised for a new social media officer with "expertise" on both Facebook and Twitter at a time when other staff are facing pay cuts. some heavily politicised or with a particular agenda and others good. No different perhaps to newspapers and television channels. Not that town halls don't try very hard to reach out to the public in every conceivable way but by its very nature. in the finest tradition of the Guardian appointments section but Brighton's experience may prompt a broader debate. local councils are facing two quite separate challenges in the new media world of the internet. you may have seen on the BBC Politics Show. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly. bad and indifferent. criticism surrounding Brighton and Hove City Council." For the cynics among you. is that they have to compete for an increasingly narrow public attention span against other sources of news and the second. leave councils ill-equipped to challenge a corrosive climate of rumour. so when it comes to finding a really good read.

the challenge remains that community-focused news is rarely compelling or even interesting to many people. joining the headlong rush to embrace social networking is symptomatic of a much wider communications problem that needs solving and which by simply having a presence. Simon Moores. leafleting and their own websites. which places its well-established channels at a distinct disadvantage. Industry and Regional Development). Can we really do Digital Engagement. The issues as i see them are: Can we really provide a platform for electronic engagement which ensures that real people can contribute. is vice-chairman (policy development) at The Conservative Technology Forum and Conservative district councillor for Westgate-on Sea http://www. local councils spend a great deal of money on printed communication. By all means experiment and engage but at the same time. 2009 Whilst on holiday in Melbourne. the average citizen perhaps preferring to read something scurrilous about their council on a weblog. nurture and foster such spaces whilst avoiding council ownership and maintaining the fluid and social nature of online spaces? . I am convinced that like ticking a series of 'new media' boxes. needs a collective review of an increasingly tired-looking communications strategy.computerweekly.com/Articles/2009/09/28/237899/Can-social-media-save-localgovernment. So how can councils use the internet and engage the new social networking technology in more interesting and proactive ways? As I think more deeply about the challenges facing us at my own council. i managed to spend 45 minutes or so with Despina Babbage from DIIRD (Depart for Innovation. at a time when blogs and tweets and pokes are increasingly a popular source of information and news for the public-at-large. local government as a whole. or will it only ever be tokenistic? I see a kind of resistance in the area of digital engagement that doesn’t seem to be there with general communications and i believe that is because the communication professionals who are now embracing such tools are not be followed in the same way as the professionals who deal with public opinion and policy creation. with RSS news feeds now making a welcome appearance for more 'upto-the minute' information. social media. participate and debate real issues in online spaces that are formally recognised as engagement spaces by either government or local councils? And How can we facilitate. However. Afterwards my thoughts turned to the same question that has been bugging me for some time now. web 2. than a laudable official press release on social housing targets or successful dog fouling prosecutions.Historically.0 and Melbourne as a place to live. does not offer more than an illusory answer.htm Barriers to Digital Engagement by Carl Haggerty on April 20. We had an interesting conversation about digital engagement.

March 22nd. and it got me thinking.. What i do see is that the way to reach people is not directly broadcasting from the top of an organisation but to use the existing connections that real people may have with services and develop new channels into those avenues to maximise and to leverage the opportunities of social media tools for digital engagement. i’ll wait for the director of digital engagement to provide some steer. in fact there are a good number of examples in my own council (youth participation. or even want to engage in such spaces with us.. trust. using more elements of social media? One local politician wants the Vancouver Park Board to get in on the act. libraries etc) where social networking sites have broadened the reach and and scope of participation.] . within current skills sets. we need to ensure we truly understand how representative democracy and participative democracy can unite to provide a REAL agenda of digital engagement. For the wider and more strategic issues of engagement. Why are there not more city services. A motion going before the Board Monday night will ask members to look at not only posting audio of their meetings on-line but also to explore providing citizens with regular updates via social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.wordpress.I am not arguing that people are not capable of engaging in such spaces. such as those run by a city hall in any township. competencies and need i say it but REAL LEADERSHIP. http://carlhaggerty. [. Digital Engagement for me at least is about connecting people with services through new technologies and enabling them to contribute to service improvements and decisions – this can happen now and must be encouraged at every opportunity and where practical. This must be supported with an agenda of business change which addresses the culture and skills required to move it to a more mainstream environment. Also how do people intend on evaluating such engagement activity and manage the process of receiving multi channel responses. 2009 4 Comments I heard this story on the radio this morning.com/2009/04/20/barriers-todigital-engagement/ Using Social Media to Bridge the Public With Local Government and City Services John Bollwitt Sunday. Has anyone or any council embarked on a training and development programme around this activity? I fear that digital engagement is less about technology and more about skills. faith. BUT when you talk about what engagement really is and what democracy is all about.

In fact. Announce scheduled meetings. Perhaps they judge interest on who shows up at those meetings in which anyone can attend. send out updates. here are some tips that I brainstormed this morning. reading those city council minutes are not the top priority of every single person that they affect.” Blyth says the web is a good way to keep people informed about issues covered in upcoming meetings. take feedback from your followers.“I think that with all this social media that we have there is just so much that we can do. Consider them starting points because you can really push things much further depending on how far you want to take these concepts. how many times have you heard of something being decided by a city council to only have it be exactly the opposite of what the majority of the public wanted to have happen? Usually that happens because the public was unaware of it even being a matter of discussion because. send . [news1130] Now before you start rolling your eyes at the notion of another pusher of the Facebook and Twitter bandwagon. Free and easy. you never know if your members will start having meetups. Twitter: Say what you will. the more we’ll know about what people want and the better job we can do. and let’s be completely honest. as well as little known Park Board events. and who is going to be there. but Twitter has a reach that is tough to beat. And since you don’t need one person to moderate the group. It gets added to their profile and they can see when. These terms should be enough for those organizations and committees to perk up a little bit if you have ever heard or said the notion of things getting done in local government but the public doesn’t get involved. Even better. to give you some basic idea of what your local government could be doing. you can utilize your whole organization to interact with the community online and in person. The more we can bring people in. Let me say those keywords again. make live updates of what is going on at meetings or events. outside of official meetings. Direct contact. remind followers of scheduled events. Facebook: I’ll start here because there are some brilliant ways to use this service. So. Most importantly. starting Groups and then using it to announce and invite members to Events are great. you need to start considering the ramifications of what these free and easy tools of direct contact really are. where.

too. It might not be the ideal setup. live video streaming service to show basketball games as they happen. You’ll also want to send out an update on Twitter to let everyone know that the video stream is live and that the meeting is about to start. Podcasting: More often than none. edit. the more archives you’ll create over time. and release it. and creating content that is search-able is key. and then you can post every recording as an episode of the official podcast of your local city council.out links to your agendas and minutes as soon as they are published to your website. progress reports on his or her city plan. thoughts on events going on in or around the area. Get something you can record audio with and find out how you can get a feed off of the system in the room so you can record it. Blogs: Text is always going to be the saving grace of any official organization. The possibilities are really endless. . and a webcam. a laptop with decent audio input. but the more you do this. etc. official. Even if you have some device you can stick in the middle of the room that can capture all of the conversations in an audible enough manner. that’s perfect. so why can’t your local mayor do the same thing? Get a video camera. It might take some work to edit and publish every episode. city meetings usually have a PA system in the rooms they are held in. I’ve seen more and more high schools using UStream’s free. UStream: In the past month. YouTube: President Barack Obama is using YouTube to do his weekly address to the nation. Twitter that as well when the new video is posted. and be sure to post an update on Twitter that the latest podcast episode is up as well as a link directly to it. or announcements of great community events that you should go check out because the mayor will be there as well? I think the new person in town might have to subscribe to the RSS feed of the mayor’s blog because it seems like a good way to stay informed about this new city they are now living in. Oh. what better way is there to get to know a community than to have an official blog from the office of the mayor with his weekly/bi-weekly/monthly video addresses. So why can’t more local governments being using the same technology to “webcast” city council meetings or school board meetings? You don’t need a local cable access channel to do it. All it takes is an Internet connection. Embed that to your city’s website and keep the people informed on a regular basis all the while giving your mayor a face and a voice rather than just a name. but you can embed that video into your organization’s website where anyone can watch and listen from home. If you have a new resident to a community. upload.

on little to no budget. the tools are there and within easy grasp of using. with 81% of people surveyed preferring the internet to carry out transactions with public services But times are changing. The fact is. Of course. Flickr. 17 are on Twitter and 15 utilise YouTube. The results might surprise you as suddenly a public service actually opens itself up to the public it is meant to serve. work openly. feel free to share them in the comments below. social media provides an ideal platform for local government to deliver results and services. Of the 71 Councils which completed the survey. Despite the low cost and clear advantages to Councils. In April 2010. only 24 Councils use Facebook. Twitter any and all updates to the blog or website so your followers are reminded to check it out. a recently commissioned survey by the Association of Local Government Information Management (ALGIM) on Council websites and online services found the use of social media by Councils is still low. district or regional council embraced social media? With growing expectations on councils to engage. There are successful examples of councils around the country that have embraced social media and have added it to their communication and consultation toolbox. By no means are all of these thoughts complete or are they everything that one could do when taking social media into consideration for a governmental organization that run cities large or small. and it’s not out of the question to get going on some of these concepts within a matter of days. If you have additional ideas or even examples of cities doing concepts like this. the better your search engine optimization (SEO) goes up when some one tries to search for something on Google about your community. the more text based content you have. Association of Local Government Information Management We all know that social media has changed the way in which we work. be more accountable and move faster on issues. But has your local city. The result gave another compelling reason for councils to use social media. http://sixty4media. There was an even lower take-up of other social networking tools like LinkedIn.On top of that.com/2009/03/22/using-social-media-to-bridgethe-public-with-local-government-and-city-services/ « Bold Horizon to Sponsor National Contemporary Art Award Jun 11 How the mighty Telecom has fallen (to its knees) » Use of social media in local government Social Networking Add comments Guest blog by Jason Dawson. MySpace and Bebo. Wouldn’t it be best if some of the first search results that come up are those coming directly from the folks running the city? That would seem very important to people involved in local tourism and chamber of commerces. . do business and socialise. the biennial ‘Kiwis Count’ survey of New Zealanders' satisfaction with their public services was released by the State Services Commission.

Community Relations Manager at the Northland Regional Council and manages the Council’s social media channels. we used our Twitter account to post confirmation that no tsunami had been generated from an earthquake in Vanuatu on 8 October 2009. New Plymouth District Council and Palmerston North City Council. it will be interesting to see if current Mayors and Councillors. like the Christchurch City Council Libraries blog and the Auckland City Council Library blogs which both provide extensive commentary on a number of interesting and relevant topics. and use Ning for some of our communities of interest. 196 shares on Facebook and 186 comments. And there are many others councils which are embracing social media. rather than ignoring it. Rick Cooper. co-convenes its annual Web Symposium and oversees an annual audit and survey of NZ local government websites http://www. and as at 1 June 2010. as well as potential candidates. have a company profile on LinkedIn. job vacancies and event information. is active on Twitter (@RickCooperTaupo) and recently asked his community to vote for a webcam in the Council Chambers for meetings and events. For example. Our use of Twitter has given us the greatest success.co. Mayor of Taupo District. civil defence warnings. will use social media to create conversations with their respective communities. We use FaceBook for campaigns such as Northland 2011 (our regional Rugby World Cup countdown). Both of these are centred around a community page to generate support for a topic or cause. We use Twitter for delivering public notices. United States and the United Kingdom for a few years. With the local government elections in October 2010.php/social-media-localgovernment .com/NRCexpress/nzcouncils Successful uses of Facebook within local government include Environment Waikato’s ‘Hamilton Halo’ which promotes reporting of native birds within Hamilton City and Tasman District Council’s ‘Waimea Inlet’ project to encourage community action for this important estuary. The challenge to all of us is will we join the conversation or choose to ignore it. Jason Dawson is General Manager . environmental data. Central Hawke’s Bay District Council was one of the first councils to use Twitter (@chbcouncil). Libraries were early adopters in councils with the use of blogs.nz/brand-marketing-blog/index. 13 councils are now tweeting – from Rodney District (@RodneyDCouncil) in the north to Queenstown-Lakes District (@QLDCComs) in the south. You can find out whether your council is using Twitter through the list: http://twitter. He is also on the Executive Board for the Association of Local Government Information Management (ALGIM).I work for the Northland Regional Council where we have been actively using social media for the last 12 months. We also tweet live during Council meetings. Video streaming or podcasting of council meetings has been available in Canada. with ‘official’ council pages used by a few like Wanganui District Council. This tweet provided a link to the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management’s website which achieved 1298 clicks.boldhorizon.

Toomas Hendrik Ilves has a Facebook page of his own. i. This year’s event discusses developing a common Helsinki-Tallinn information space. my Finnish and Estonian blogs and elsewhere. August 20. It is more than likely that neither Helsinki nor Tallinn has yet a comprehensive social media strategy. 2010 at 3:47 | Posted in Estonia. The page is being frequently updated and is very popular (9. It involves the local governments of both of the two cities plus regional administrations of Uusimaa in Finland and Harjumaa in Estonia. The tweets are posted fairly regularly and almost always consist of links to the city’s web site. The picture is somewhat brighter in Estonia. Each post collects a lot of comments. helsinki. regional nor central government. Returning to the local level of government. this year in Tallinn. the President of Estonia. internet. the City of Tartu appears in Twitter. Yet I know that there is a growing interest in social media in both administrations and it is probably being used in a light scale by both. If you browse the web sites of Helsinki and Tallinn you do not easily detect signs to suggest that social media would be actively and systematically used as a tool by either city. I am going to write more specifically about what I am going to do there closer to the date. By following them I get quite a lot of interesting information about current events in Estonia’s second largest city without drowning into a bulk of stuff less interesting for me which would be the case if I subscribed to their RSS feed. One of the places is the Facebook page “Helsinki-Tallinn Capital Regions Common Info Space“. 2).e. The comments are very few and practically never responded to.Thoughts about (local) government and social media Friday. The Forum is a biannual event organized in one of the two capitals. . The blog portraits a colourful picture of life and people in external service but basically works as a one way street. The Estonian Foreign Ministry has an official blog which is very actively updated by Estonian diplomats around the World and by civil servants of the ministry. neither local. tallinn | 2 Comments Tags: euregio I have been approached by Helsinki-Tallinn Euregio Forum to participate in the event which is going to take place in Tallinn 14th and 15th September. Various levels of government are using the channels of social media in various ways and with a variable level of success. they have yet to figure out how to use it and what for. social media. To kick it off I am posting some loose thoughts about (local) government and social media. Mr. The twin city concept is an essential part of the Forum. As a part of my preparations for the Forum I am going to discuss related topics both in this web space. Since the idea is partly to build up my own input and partly to give a chance to anybody interested (whether they actually participate in the event or not) to contribute. The president does not seem to talk back but I do not really think anybody would expect him to. Most notably. Media. My input is connected to the workshop “Bloggers. Finland. portals and social media“. your comments are most welcome either here in the blog or at any of the two Facebook pages linked above (1. Please correct me if I am wrong but I have in fact not detected any active social media presence from governmental organisations in Finland.575 people like it).

Incidentally. For example how about using you can use it to improve communication within an area management structure in order to reduce the number of meetings required between officers. the University of Tartu seems to have a bit more sophisticated approach: they also link to sites other than their own and even occasionally respond to comments and retweet. the two European Capitals of Culture next year are going to be Tallinn and Turku. On the other hand. members and other organisations. Not only do they post operative info about preparations to the year as Cultural Capital. As an ex-local councillor (where my responsibilities included being lead member for corporate communications and customer services) and as a public relations consultant that works with the public sector I thought it would be worth responding on the blog as well as in the comments. As you may or may not know. I conclude that their strategy is to get their message through effectively. The most boring approach to social media is the Twitter feed of the Government of Estonia. The Foundation Tallinn 2011 has a pretty nice presence in Twitter. I hope to soon return to the question of social media strategy more specifically. community groups. They all have a different strategy (or in some cases lack of it). • What are the greatest areas of potential benefit in councils using social media? Interesting one this. no replies or retweets to be found. . My advice is often “don’t think too big”. As you could expect. Despite having (at this moment) 566 followers they only follow back 8. In the mean time I would appreciate any thoughts you may have. The feed is practically a duplicate of their RSS feed. Some of the best social media ROI might come from smaller or niche uses.The city does not seem to discuss with their followers. Add to that their activities in Facebook and YouTube and you get something which looks like an impressive social media strategy for an institution sponsored by a local government. all of which are governmental organizations or institutions. Looks like it works reasonably well and does not require very much resources to be invested to. they also discuss with their followers. you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Alas. Initially you don’t need to convert/empower/support the wider community. Start off with the ‘empowered citizen’ (sometimes known as the ‘usual suspects’) who are already active in community groups and forums. thus adding no value if followed.wordpress. Thanks for visiting! Ingrid Koehler at the IDeA has posted some questions about how local government can use and engage with social media. Tartu does no doubt miss the benefits of the very idea of social media: it is a two way street. http://larko. These are just a few examples of different approaches to social media in various governmental operators.com/2010/08/20/thoughts-about-localgovernment-and-social-media/ How can local government use social media? If you're new here. • How can councils support local communities and individuals in becoming digitally enabled and empowered? Don’t aim too high.

Iowa. He liked using Facebook and Twitter to keep up with friends and had dabbled some in blogging. It’s no different to how businesses should be behaving in the space. But thing councillors must understand is that a successful local ward blog isn’t the same as a national political blog. • How can social media be used for more effective social marketing encouraging the behaviour change necessary to achieve complex outcomes? Huge question and not space to answer here. rather than what you can take. How can councillors develop their leadership and communication skills using social media? Yes. The spaces already exist and it is about finding appropriate ways to participate. I think I was the first councillor in the UK to start a blog and one thing that made it successful was that it was political. Horne created a Facebook "fan page" for Mitchellville. not as a replacement. Tina Trenkner | December 31. He knew that not everyone in the . including virtual worlds and more? Everyone has their predictions. he’s the head of marketing at Medway Council. but as an addition to face-to-face real world communication. That means looking at what you can give.• How can local and hyper-local social networks increase community cohesion and empowerment. I’m not going to get into that game other than to say that mobile and convergence will become even more important. when he was the city administrator of Mitchellville. If councillors have official support they can’t create the content that really interests and fires up local people.biz/2009/02/how-can-local-government-use-social-media. 2009 http://www.governing. he got to thinking that Facebook could be a good thing for civic engagement. Early last year. with lots published on blogs as new year forecasts. If you’re really interested in social media for local government then I’d highly recommend you read Simon Wakeman’s blog. • What’s the “next practice” in social media. “Create the space” sounds dangerously close to ‘build it and they will come’ – well they won’t necessarily. for example knocking the Tory executive member for leisure because he cancelled our local November 5 bonfire. The ‘local politics’ posts were the most popular.html Jeffrey Horne wasn't new to social media.html Is Social Media a Friend or Foe of Government? States and localities want to engage citizens. other than to say that’s already what we’re doing for some of Wolfstar’s clients. • This must be down to councillors themselves with support from their political parties. too. • How can councils create the space for community conversations without overpowering them? Not sure what is meant by “create the space”. http://stuartbruce.com/topics/mgmt/Is-Social-Mediaa. but social media comes with a lot of legal risks and management concerns.

Yet for every fan page or account created. should government-posted content on a third-party Web site be considered public record? Who owns the content. The page became a free-for-all. fans and followers. city or county is endorsing the advertised product? And how should officials handle rude or libelous comments? Social media is new enough that there aren't yet clear answers to all of these questions. would be simple enough. But there also are a lot of legal risks and management concerns involved. "It just didn't work well. He deleted it altogether. But there were a few rules to go by. "I think people realize this is no longer a fad. city commissioners . does it imply that the state. Mayor Brook talked it over with Samuel Goren. colleagues and old classmates with whom they were Facebook friends. One grumbling resident used the page to post complaints. A 2009 report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that one in five Internet users searched for political information. About 30 citizens became "fans" of Mitchellville. McCollum's response caught the attention of many local officials across Florida. he said. Putting up the profile. There's evidence that Americans want to use social media to connect with government. For example.000 of them listed with the "state-local" tag. Goren wasn't sure how to play it either. Many officials are simply worried that Web 2." Horne says. says of social media. find out what their friends are reading. so he decided to ask Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum for his opinion about how local governments should approach Facebook. has close to 1. Most such activity is covered by public records laws. Coral Springs Mayor Scott Brook wanted to create a Facebook profile for his city. These are no longer kids' toys--the fastest growing demographic of Facebook users is people age 35 and older. and pass time playing popular virtual games like FarmVille. and more irritation than Horne thought it was worth. Shark's organization surveyed chief information officers of local governments about their social-media plans. the city attorney. Then trouble started. Last year. While Mitchellville is no longer on Facebook. As long as the page was created for a municipal purpose (as validated by the city commission). it's hard to ignore the fact that more than 100 million Americans are. a commonly used directory of government Twitter accounts. as Horne's did. posted their views about issues or engaged in another civic activity on a social network. The experiment started out well. Some 72 percent of those who responded said they were currently using Facebook or Twitter in outreach efforts. Citizens increasingly go there and to other social-media platforms such as MySpace. But some guidelines are beginning to emerge that may help government officials figure out how to interact with their online friends. For example. it seems there's another city or state holding back from social media. Horne had a hard time keeping up with who was joining the conversation and moderating the comments.300 was on Facebook. or planned to do so. But he figured that those who were might enjoy using the popular Web site to communicate with their local government. There are other signs that the public sector is getting on these sites. LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with old acquaintances. a casual look around the site will turn up dozens of pages for governments or individual agencies. executive director of the Public Technology Institute. Brook knew. And while it's almost impossible to say exactly how many state or local government profiles exist on Facebook.0 experiments will spiral out of control. GovTwit." Last year.town of 2. "This is a way of life. too. a Facebook page could stand." Alan Shark. and does it need to be archived? If advertisements show up on a government fan page. allowing them to see news from the town alongside the updates of neighbors. But publishing information under the city's banner isn't. One set of guidelines comes from Florida.

Doug Robinson. Then again. One of the things NASCIO is doing to help states navigate the risks is to convene an ad hoc group of lawyers. it's up to each state agency to determine for itself whether Facebook. for example. governments will always face some element of risk when using social media. and technology and policy professionals. Similarly. Twitter or any other service is worth using and whether the terms of service are acceptable. The state of Utah created its own "acceptable use" provisions for social media. YouTube. essentially resolving federal agencies' concerns about liability. . deputy state CIOs." To be safe. the federal government reached agreement with Facebook. As state and local governments write their own terms of use for social media. there's a question as to whose rules prevail: those of the government or those of the site? If it were the sites' terms. state and local governments have been navigating these questions on their own. executive director of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO). nobody has control over them. at least if the information had been "made or received in connection with the transaction of official business by or on behalf of a public agency such as the city. that would mean almost all disputes over social media would be heard in California.could not make online comments to each other on issues that might go before the board. When users sign up. citing the risk of violating public records and sunshine laws. liability and endorsements. "I'm telling them to be very. Vimeo and blip. A complicating factor is that sites such as Facebook and Twitter have terms of service of their own. Flickr.) NASCIO hopes its proceedings will produce similar agreements between social-media sites and the states. McCollum advised that Coral Springs place a warning about the public records law both on its Facebook page and on its city Web site.'" Stewart says. McCollum concluded. freedom of information and governing laws. very. The group is trying to put together some formal guidelines for states on issues regarding governing laws. He also expressed concern about how information on Facebook would be archived and how long it would stay there." For the most part. (The feds did not need to pursue an agreement with Twitter because its rules were deemed compatible with federal use. the city of Virginia Beach. either. Ft.0 for governments. they agree to abide by those rules.that's the fun and the flaw of Web 2. vice mayor and commissioners from participating on Facebook. Lauderdale's mayor. Would their online information be subject to open-records laws? Probably so. very careful. it will become more intertwined in how they engage with their state and local governments. Last year. Employees who post items on these sites on behalf of the city also make sure to remind followers of the city's usage rules by regularly reposting them. In Rhode Island. Nobody has control over what their Facebook friends do -. where most of them are based. Another issue had to do with friends of the city's Facebook profile. Social media will continue to evolve and mature. And as it becomes more intertwined in Americans' lives. "I'm not telling them 'Don't go on Facebook. Stewart discouraged Ft. One local official in Florida felt the attorney general's opinion wasn't cautious enough. says several states have approached him with questions about these issues. endorsements. created terms of use for engaging with Facebook and Twitter and ran it by the city attorney. Whatever comes of these efforts. Virginia. when citizens go to the microphone at a council meeting.tv. Lauderdale City Attorney Harry Stewart released his own opinion on the matter a few weeks after McCollum did. on the grounds that such communication would violate sunshine laws.

Technology and the Arts) and I&DeA (Improvement & Development Agency). it is becoming increasingly clear that if councils don’t use these tools. and to be openly available online. “Meanwhile. “The problem for councils though. is that not engaging now represents a far greater risk than engaging. Iowa. in which he argues the core role social media tools could play in delivering higher levels of public engagement across local authorities. 26/03/2010 . whether you add your voice to the conversation or not.” said the report. to do things that weren’t possible before.” “Citizens will expect their council to engage with them on their terms. author of a new report on social media usage in local government. and face-to-face transactions of £6.” Gibson highlighted one of the key issues facing councils and social media today. and we are only just beginning to see what is possible. Horne has moved on to a new position as city administrator of Clinton. Higher expectations combined with drastically fewer resources make the imperative to innovate critical. And while the memory of his Facebook flop in Mitchellville remains fresh in his mind. Citizens will still use these networks to talk about you. sewer work they should know about.” he added. Socitm’s report found that. More than this. and quicker.That's still what Jeffrey Horne believes. Gibson’s Local by Social report was published this week by NESTA (National Endowment for Science. compared with phone transactions of £3. be more accountable and move quicker on issues.” Beyond increasing communication and engagement. via their channels. Councils that find ways to shift their business online quickly will save money. "I don't think there will be much of an issue with this. Horne says. The web is cheaper. “web transaction costs [are] 27p on average.” says Andy Gibson. “Expectations are growing on councils to engage. he argues that the forthcoming reduction in public spending will mean authorities will be under greater pressure to innovate. He thinks Twitter could be useful for broadcasting alerts to citizens when there's. “In fact.17:16 http://www. the citizens will do it for them. Gibson pointed to analysis completed by the Society of Information Technology Management’s (Socitm) that compared the cost of customer service interactions.” . councils are facing the biggest ever post-war reduction in spending from 2011 – still more in discretionary spend – and are being asked to do more with less. say. “Social media tools represent an extraordinary opportunity to innovate. he's intent on figuring out a way to use social media to engage citizens.22." Social media has “big part” to play in local government Posted by Jon Wilcox on Fri. work openly.net/sector/local-gov/social-media-has-big-part-playlocal-government A report published by NESTA/I&DeA has issued a call to arms for local authorities to effectively use social media to improve local engagement and promote efficient communication.publictechnology. and bypass the council entirely.56.

• • • This guidance does NOT: • . set out in the Code of Conduct. that apply when participating in any other media or public forum.vic.” Guidance for use of social media in the Victorian public sector State Services Authority. and Is a reminder that ramifications of breaching the Code of Conduct when using social media may result in disciplinary action. “The choice for councils is stark: get on board.au/website-practice/web-2-0-a/social-networks-and-social-media-ingovernment/guidance-for-use-of-social-media-in-the-victorian-public-sector. Given the broad and diverse nature of public sector organisations. Modify the Code of Conduct or existing policies of any individual organisation. Published: 18 August 2010 http://www.egov.gov. It is not possible to provide detailed guidance for every conceivable situation. Scope The guidance: • • Provides clarification for the Victorian public sector on existing obligations under the Code of Conduct.html Purpose The purpose of this guidance for Victorian public sector bodies and employees is to clarify their existing obligations under the Code of Conduct for Victorian Public Sector Employees (No 1) 2007 (1) in the context of using social media. Helps strengthen links between the Code of Conduct and local policies by providing a reference for Victorian public sector bodies when issuing policies and procedures on social media. It is high level principles based. and addresses both official and private use. or get left behind. It is recognised that this guidance will need to be supported by additional information and guidelines at the local level. therefore emphasis is placed on guiding principles of behaviour that are applicable under the Code of Conduct. Reflects the provisions of the Code of Conduct that hold employees accountable for the consequences of their private actions where they may have a bearing on their standing as a public official. Departments and public entities will need to review and possibly amend their policies having regard to this guidance and in the light of their Gov 2. this guidance addresses standards of behaviour rather than detailed policies and procedures.0 activities and initiatives. Makes it clear that participating in social media is subject to the same standards of behaviour.He warned it’s essential that councils learn about harness social media tools.

discussion boards and groups (e. opinion and other content shared and discussed over open digital networks. including corporate blogs and personal blogs Micro-blogging (e. For the purposes of this guidance. public forum or engagement with the community. Twitter) Forums. Myspace) Video and photo sharing websites (e. Responsibilities The Code of Conduct for Victorian Public Sector Employees (No 1) 2007 sets out the standards of behaviour expected of Victorian public sector employees based around a framework of values from the Public Administration Act 2004. It refers to user-generated information. to support the application of the Code of Conduct. Facebook. other sections may also be applicable in specific circumstances. LinkedIn. The Code of Conduct applies to Victorian public sector employees when participating in social media for official and private use. contractors and consultants. the definition of official and private use is as follows: Official use: Using social media tools when acting as an official representative of the Victorian public sector. Private use: Using social media tools in a private capacity Social media. employees are reminded that comments will often be permanently available and able to be reproduced in other media.g. These may provide further detail.• Seek to regulate how social media are used as a work tool/communications medium. Wikipedia) Vod and podcasting Email and instant messaging. including specific requirements regarding the use of social media by their employees. Google groups.defined Social media is the term used for internet based tools for sharing and discussing information among people. Social media also includes all other emerging electronic/digital communication applications. Social media may include (although is not limited to): • • • • • • • • Social networking sites (e. Victorian public sector bodies have responsibility to develop and implement policies and procedures. Official and private useWhether using social media for official or private purposes. Youtube) Blogs.g. It is up to each organisation to develop their own policies and protocols in relation to social media and enforce them. In addition to the sections of the Code of Conduct referred to below.g.g. Social media and the Code of Conduct The Code of Conduct applies when participating in social media in the same way as when participating in any other media. . Flickr.g. Whirlpool) Wikis (e.

The nature of social media increases the risk of reputational damage through private activities such as: ○ ○ ○ posting images. 2. Staff must ensure that any personal comments don’t compromise their capacity to perform their public role in an unbiased manner. When using social media for official purposes it should not be used to express personal opinions. 5.The sections of the Code of Conduct that are of particular relevance to this guidance have been identified: • • • • • • • • 2.5 Making public comment 3.2 Privacy and confidentiality 6.9 Public trust 5. 3.9 Public trust • Whether using social media for official use.g. . they should avoid making statements or engaging in activities of a party political nature. • 3.3 Work resources 5.5 Making public comment • • • Use of social media for making public comment in relation to duties must follow the appropriate internal communications process and authorisation. Those policies will have regard to not only the efficient and effective use of public resources.3 Work resources • Staff must comply with employer policies regarding private use of work resources. When using social media for private purposes. including their use in engaging in social media. information or links to images or information.4 Open to scrutiny 6. staff must not do anything that may adversely affect their standing as a public official or which could bring themselves or the public sector into disrepute. and that they are speaking only on behalf of themselves.2 Remaining apolitical 3. disclosing one’s own and others’ personal information.4 Equity and diversity.2 Remaining apolitical • Where staff are authorised to use social media relating to the administration of policies and programs of the elected government. staff must ensure that they make it clear that any comments relating to Victorian government activities are not official. ‘electronic footprints’ which could identify the user as working for the public sector).1 Fair and objective treatment 6. engaging in a heated debate or argument. or in a private capacity. but also the risks associated with their use for private purposes (e.

harassment and bullying also apply to their use of social media. Social media can help my Council by: . Why should local government use social media? • • • • • • • • • • It's free! It's easy to use. 6. Reach.4 Open to scrutiny • Staff must maintain accurate and reliable records of their official use of social media as required by relevant legislation. The potential scope and ramifications of a breach of privacy or confidentiality when using social media are severe. working openly. If in doubt. enhancing democracy. It's fast. Your employer will have informed you. community and other public sector employees. keeping your citizens informed.4 Equity and diversity • Obligations on public sector employees to support an environment free of discrimination. 6. if this Code applies to you. New Zealand.1 Fair and objective treatment • All communication of an official nature should be objective and courteous in dealings with the government. 6.5. assisting with campaigns. 1) 2007. 24 May 2010. helping citizens report problems. being accountable. Footnotes 1 Employees of ‘special bodies should refer to the Code of Conduct for Victorian Public Sector Employees of Special Bodies (No. Local Government Guide to Social Media Presentation by Jason Dawson to SOLGM Local Government Communications Forum. Wellington. policies and procedures.2 Privacy and confidentiality • Staff must ensure the privacy and confidentiality of information acquired at work is protected at all times and treated in accordance with relevant laws and policies. check with your manager or Human Resources area.

It helps make you a council which learns quickly. 1 What are the greatest areas of potential benefit in councils using social media.au/website-practice/web-2-0-a/social-networks-and-social-media-ingovernment/local-government-guide-to-social-media. These spring from the culture change which social media can help to drive. acts quickly. is transparent and more trusted.• • • helping build communities.html Key Questions: Local Government and Social Media Posted on 18th February 2009 by Nick Booth http://podnosh.vic. and extending audience reach http://www.com/blog/2009/02/18/localgovernmentsocialmedia/ Ingrid Koehler at the IDeA Srategy Unit poses seven good questions. or rather requires you to adopt. Organisations which are alive to how social media can build trust. collaborates well inside and outside the organisation. 2 How can councils support individuals in becoming digitally enabled and empowered? I think the answer is to start with your own staff.egov. delivering services. Reward those who share what they know and make sure they know they have permission to help the ‘citizen’ to also learn how to use the social web. strengthen relationships and allow people to collaborate will eventually benefit from being able to work much better with the people they are there to serve. although they boil don’t to one key answer: Get involved and act like normal people do. Here are my thoughts.gov. Give them access to organised yet informal help on how to use social media for their work. Why doesn’t a housing repair team use social media to talk about what they do – why can’t they then share these skills with the people they meet in their work? . Councils employ a goodly proportion of those in work in any area and if they get it then that will reach many others.

Don’t imagine that a council run ning for each neighbourhood is the answer though. not their status and relax. 7 What’s the “next practice” in social media. The key is to learn to share openly and generously. So digital media literacy and refined critical skills for information processing will be critical. Just be sincerely part of them. some for outsiders and some for both. Don’t expect people to come to you. There may well be something new about how information internally is processed – internal (perhaps semantic) search offering the right stuff to the right person at the right time. encouraging the behaviour change necessary to achieve complex outcomes? People using social media are already beginning to collaborate on solving complex problems – often with ad hoc networks of expertise attracted to particular issues. and open up internet access to council staff. Social media is like government – it’s never finished so don’t . If they participate in the conversation as normal human beings they will develop more sophisticated collaborative and conversational communications skills and be more accountable as leaders. That way they can learn techniques which they can then apply to their own proferssional problems. On the other hand. if they use the tools as a one way broadcast mechanism they won’t gain much benefit from social media. including virtual worlds and more? Virtual worlds are essentially a slightly clutsy toy at the moment (sweepeing genralisation I know – and much of the work being done is valuable) . Often councils have to go to where networks have begun to spring up. some for insiders. Social media practice includes being wiling to give away what you know. 6 How can social media be used for more effective social marketing. More importantly local authorities have not yet particularly begun to ‘get’ current practice in social media. You would help to negoatiate what’s best. Don’t underestimate how much people enjoy using the social web and treat that as an opportunity.Support would include identifying digital mentors in your teams and offering social media surgeries. So the answer to this question can’t be prescriptive other than to say officers and politicians in local authorities need to begin contributing professionally to other people problem solving. They need to use their skills and reosurces beyond their normal areas or permission. Oh. 5 How can councils create the space for community conversations without overpowering them? Usually it will be wrong for a council to think they can make a space and it will work. perhaps even people on twitter) are separate from you as a local authority. praise. That in turn allows them to see what they have in common and to begin to organise around shared problems or opportunties. support. At it’s simplest these networks help people know each other. 4 How can councillors develop their leader and communication skills using social media? The key here is not the tools but the habits. Equaly don’t think of these online very local networks (they could cluster around a blog or series of blogs. help people solve their problems in the knowledge that they in turn will help you solve yours. (I’d prefer to say always – because the usually could be the excuse for thousands of moribund council created ‘social’ sites). If they learn to seek help from their networks and in turn help people within those networks they can build a great deal of social capital – which is core to being a leader. People working in councils have to be granted permission to think and act as part of a network. Included in that stuff will be information coming from bloggers as much as newspeprs or academia. 3 How can local and hyper-local social networks increase community cohesion and empowerment. respect people for what they do and know. You wouldn’t blunder into your knitting club and start saying that things are going to a certain way because you are in charge.

See also: .behave as if it should be.

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