The vandals took the handle

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Visionary councils finally getting it

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They took a long while to catch on, but some communication visionaries in Australian local government are finally ‘getting’ social media.

Here in New South Wales, there are at least three local councils that have introduced Twitter feeds and a few that have struck their toe into the pond with blogs or Facebook etc.  It’s encouraging that this is happening while local council ‘communication’ staff generally seem to shun social media; ploughing ahead instead with traditional media statements, all-things-for-all-people template websites and often artistic but totally outdated newsletters.  Meanwhile, the real community conversation moves on around them.

Media statements that ‘push’ information “on message”, without web links, background information etc  to traditional media outlets only, are rapidly becoming next to useless. Even  small country newspapers now have websites, yet government has generally ignored this development and continued to ‘communicate’ largely the way it has for the past 25 years …… aim it at the local journo; give em ‘positive’ information that you want them to know, and e-mail a release that looks like every other one you have ever pushed out in hope.   And all this while the social media conversation goes on around them, over them and past them. 

For a sector of government that is quick to claim a particular “closeness” to the people, local councils generally are disappointingly backward in this changing world of communication.   As I have said before, take a close look at ‘Fix My Street’ and see how it can be done.  And, to be fair, take a bow Mosman, Wyong and Hurstville councils. Great stuff …. and an encouraging start.

Ian

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Written by ianandsue

December 23, 2008 at 12:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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