Abstracts: July 26th, 2010

This paper from the Young Foundation is intended to support councils interested in using social media, by presenting a simple and practical framework on which to base social media activity.

Impending budget cuts mean that local government will need to change the way it works, largely moving away from a model of delivering services to and for people, to a model of delivering services with people. Public servants will be required to build new relationships with citizens. These relationships will help support civil society in responding to inevitable challenges.

These challenges come at a time when social media has become part of everyday life for millions of people. For those in central and local government, social media will undoubtedly become part of everyday life, but at this point it is largely uncharted territory for many councils and public agencies.

The framework, adapted from work by one of the world’s largest media agencies, allows councils to approach social media with less trepidation. It encourages authorities to start by listening and analysing social media activity. Councils should then participate in conversations to create dialogue with citizens, to energise citizens around a particular theme or event, to support communities to help each other, to involve people in decisions, and to measure social media activity.

But social media has the potential to achieve more than just conversations and communication, it will lead to a transformation in existing ways of doing business.

LISTEN, PARTICIPATE, TRANSFORM is available from the Young Foundation. http://www.youngfoundation.org/files/images/Listen__Participate__Transform.pdf