Social service

A new report from Dr Jonathan Carr-West and Rob Dale of the LGiU, with the support of GovDelivery examines the digital tools in use by UK local authorities and the potential cost savings. The 34 page PDF entitled “going where the eyeballs are” is available from GovDelivery (If you go through the LGiU it expects you to be a member).

Much has been reported in similar reports extolling the virtues of social media but there is some useful stuff gathered together here including a promotion for Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s Facebook page entitled BwD Winter, although the piece fails to mention it’s on Facebook, which is not necessarily a good thing, however, it may demonstrate that creating and isolating a practical use of Facebook may stop the abuse or avoidance that usually comes when councils employ that tool.

The authors also pick up on ‘social listening’ with councils able to gain some limited analytics about their social media mentions through Social Mention or Google Alerts, whilst reminding us that Facebook and Twitter owning your data limits any statistical feedback, resulting in even more limited and largely anecdotal evidence for any take-up. There is also a reminder that email still has far more users than even trendy Twitter.

The report concludes optimistically that “local authorities need to remove all barriers that prevent access to social networks”, along with skilling up their staff and invest in IT that promotes innovation, which may be a step too far in the financial climate…

*Declaration of interest – I was one of those surveyed

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