Social media & local government

Have come across some interesting bits and pieces recently on the topic of how local government should be using the social web to better communicate and collaborate – exactly the sort of thing we are trying to promote on the Community of Practice.

First up is a presentation by Simon Wakeman, who is Head of Marketing and PR at Medway Council in Kent. Simon’s slides include some interesting research results, plus some details of how Medway have used podcasts to reach out to younger people:


Second is some slides from Dominic Campbell, who was lucky enough to be appointed Social Media Manager at Barnet Council recently. Dominic discusses how web 2.0 can help Barnet implement their Communications and Engagement Strategy.


Another tip from Dominic led me to Barnet’s YouTube page (yes! They have one!) which feature some great clips of Charles Leadbeater – he of We-Think fame – talking to the Council about the future shape of local government and local governance in the UK.


There are some great initiatives going on out there in local government where forward-thinking folk are making the most of web technology to bring councils closer to the people they serve. As with the eDemocracy debate though – is this stuff too fragmented? How can we bring everyone together?

8 thoughts on “Social media & local government”

  1. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the link – I think there’s a real challenge to connect pockets of best practice in social media / local government. The CoP is an interesting start, although I fear it may be “preaching to the converted” to an extent.

    Councils love best practice and seeing what other councils are up to, so there’s definitely an appetite – the challenge is to deliver this in a way that is appropriate to the local govt communicator audience.

    Like your blog by the way – have added to my RSS list


  2. Dave,

    excellent timing! I’m in the process of putting a presentation together on this topic for an event coming up in June. I’m hoping I’ll be able to use some of this info.


  3. Not at all, in fact I was doing dome background stuff last week to see what might be available to use. I was concentrating on local gov – so tags like localgovuk and lgedem were the ones I was looking at, along with some sort of aggregation – maybe just a Pageflake – to pull it all together.

    But ICELE’s imminent demise made me pull back, and I wonder whether a wider scope is required. We have local government engaging in social media, central government doing the same. Then there is the eDemocracy stuff, which is kind of similar but seems to be separate- again at both the national and the local level.

    I think there is an opportunity to work with CLG, DIUS etc about what they are planning and unorganise a new (virtual?) informal centre for government online, bringing central and local together, eDem buffs and webbies all in one place.

    A common tag for all this stuff would be a good start. Something that says web and government, but isn’t excluding. SlashGov maybe?!

  4. Thanks for the post. We are experimenting with social media at Brighton & Hove City Council. In fact we have been noted as out-tweeting all other city councils

    The virual informal centre for government online sounds like a great idea. It would be very interesting to share knowledge and see how other authorities are using social media to engage with people and communicate through the recession.

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