Some of the key themes in Technology have been to automate processes, make them more streamlined and enable better data management. I found some really interesting stuff from KPMG. They had done quite a lot of research in the US on why local government needs to engage and I just wanted to add my thoughts into the mix.
Social media has enabled engagement to take place, to develop local relationships as well as gather ideas and opinion. Here’s how and why-
The public use social media- almost 1/4 of all internet time is spent on social media. If you want to get their attention then this is the place. The public wants you to be there also, even if it is just to complain!
Listen- the biggest problem with most organisations is that they think this a broadcast tool- yet another channel to push out messages. Social media is so much more than that. If you listen to Twitter, News sites and the Blogosphere you will most cetainly have your finger on the pulse.
Get help and ideas from the public– People love getting involved in sharing ideas and solving problems.this is a great way to get some constructive feedback on things that are not currently working at a local level.
It must be two-way– no one likes to be taken for granted and so if the relationship is just one-way then the other party will get bored or just feel that they are being “used”.
Payback time– Where other systems require users to be trained- social media has been built to be intuitive so the people you want to engage with already know how the system works.
Social media is a great tool if it is used right- let’s see how local government uses it.