Headlines: October 4th, 2012

Social media is being promoted across local government with a new social media friendly mark. The mark carries the message that the council has embraced social media and is using it to get in touch and to get feedback.

The mark can be affixed to websites, meeting agendas and the other publications, letters and pamphlets councils send to residents, to advise people of their local authority’s commitment to social media reporting. It can also indicate the availability of wi-fi in public buildings for live tweeting, blogging and taking and uploading photos.

The launch follows the success of the #OurDay ‘tweetathon’ which aimed to give the public a behind the scenes insight into the hard work that goes on 24-hours-a-day to deliver the hundreds of services councils provide. Almost 4,000 local government tweeters, including chief executives, frontline staff and councillors, contributed more than 10,000 individual tweets which were seen by more than 760,000 people. At one stage the #OurDay hashtag was the number two trending topic in the UK.

Peter Fleming, Chairman of the LGA Improvement and Innovation Board, said: “Social media is a hugely important way of communicating with our increasingly web-savvy residents. The instant, low cost and direct nature of tools like Twitter are great for alerting people to things like road closures and flood warnings but they are just as good at giving people the opportunity to provide us with feedback on the services we provide.”

He added: “The launch of the Social Media Friendly Mark means we now have a clear way of communicating to the public that we are providing information through a broad range of online channels. It also gives us the opportunity to add to our reputation as the most open, transparent and democratic part of the public sector by letting residents, councillors and local government employees know when it is okay to tweet and blog from meetings.”