From little seeds….

Posted on March 1, 2011

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A good day today, was pleasantly surprised to be told we’d made a mention in the social media section of SOCITM:Better Connected 2011 or #bc11 on twitter. Turns out we’re 7th in the UK for followers on facebook. The majority were gathered during the severe weather in December but they’ve stuck with us and we’ve had some decent engagement during Jan and Feb. I’m hoping this will be my lever to get a bit more attention from senior management as to why we should be using social media to talk and engage with our citizens about our services. At the same time though I’m concentrating on small pockets within services that I think will be good places to try out social media.  Sort of bottom up and top down at the same time. I’ve started with school meals, next on list is social care and countryside and the biggie I’m working on just now is #WasteWed, entirely inspired by the wonderfully simple but effective #testittuesday.  I’ll say more about this later in the week.
I’m also getting a bit more sophisticated in using both twitter and Facebook and am attempting the anaylse the activity.  I’ve set up a bit.ly account and am enjoying watching the number of click thru’s from posts on both fb and twitter, and discovering who’s retweeting our tweets.  I’ve discovered that bit.ly lets you customise the shortened extension so instead of random letters and numbers you can call it what you want, provided no-one else has it already.
The best bit of today though was sitting with a great guy called David Bright @davidbright4558, our emergency planning adviser, and watching him get excited about the potential of twitter.  We looked at #CHCH and #eqnz and how the authorities in NZ are using twitter to communicate following the earthquake.  I’ve recommended a few good #localgov and #lgovsm people for him to follow and now he’s actively out there looking for other people to have conversations with, to collaborate with, to learn from and generally build his network.  He’s ditched IE6, our bogstandard council issue browser, got himself chrome and tweetdeck and is getting himself a few followers already.
Getting a mention in a league table is nice but it’s the David Bright’s and all the others out there that that want to learn and share and improve what we do in local government that will last far longer than a position in a report.  The seeds being sown just now right across my organisation will help us to adapt and develop and mature into better users of social media, our citizens are receptive to it and want to engage with us, we’ve just got to get it right and make it worth doing for all involved but with the people in Stirling Council who are starting to get interested in it I’ve got a feeling that we will.

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