The vandals took the handle

Social media, PR, journalism, football and anything that isn't politically correct

Reality bites with Council Gripes

with one comment

Short sighted is the only way I could describe the apparent reaction of many Australian local councils to the launch of the Twitter site called ‘Council Gripes’.

Dismissing comments placed on the site because they are unsigned, or were not received via traditional complaints systems, appears foolhardy indeed.  It may also signal a customer service system clinging to an outmoded belief that procedures established before the social media age are still suitable.

The reality is that social media is changing everything – and something like the ‘Council Gripes’ Twitter site has the power to reach and influence millions of people in a short period of time. And then, the information will find its way to traditional media – and the damage will balloon even more.

Not that long ago, blogs and the like carried information to a select group of readers only. Not any more. The explosion in the use of Twitter and other social media, means that these sites are widely followed and indexed in search results right alongside traditional websites and portals.

The genie is out of the bottle and there’s no way of putting it back. And we shouldn’t want to.

And, in this light, customer service as we have known it, is rapidly becoming inadequate.  The way in which companies and the public sector manages community feedback needs to be overhauled.

Ignore something like ‘Council Gripes’ at your peril.  Use such sites (see the UK version ‘Fix My Street’) to be transparent, to explain actions, reassure the community, set up a conversation and protect credibility/image.  Think outside the square; turn  criticism into a positive;  and realise that the way people communicate with government and companies is changing faster than we can draw up traditional policies and procedures.

But do not attempt to shrug off the importance of these sites. That’s akin to trying to hold back a tide that has already swept in and is quickly submerging us.



Written by ianandsue

April 26, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Your blog is a rich source of information on conferencing and communication topics. Liked it, will bookmark it for later!

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    April 28, 2009 at 5:36 am

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