I first read this pamphlet from IDeA and Nesta just over a year ago when it was first published. Having just re-read it again this afternoon, it’s stood the test of time – a year in social media being a pretty long time.
There’s a wealth of examples of how local authorities are starting to use social media to engage with their communities. And just as interestingly, some great examples about how local communities are organising themselves and engaging with their local authorities – that ground up approach rather appeals to my inner activist. There are schools using twitter to keep parents up to date; fixmystreet.com enabling people to log details of problems which are piped directly to the relevant local authority for action, and many more. It’s available as a download or read it online at localbysocial.net .
It’s candid about some of the challenges involved in deploying such projects. There are new and evolving skills needed to resource them, and the fear associated with trying something new in the public eye. Though this quote from the intro pretty much sums it up for me…
The problem for councils though, is that not engaging now represents a far greater risk than engaging. Citizens will still use these networks to talk about you, whether you add your voice to the conversation or not.
I’m not going to summarise it further, as it deserves a full read. The author (@gandy) makes it a breeze to work through 44 pages. And I defy anyone to get to the end without thinking of something they could do in their organisation.
I haven’t come across a similar publication for the social housing sector yet. I wonder if it exists but my google-fu is failing me? Maybe it doesn’t exist yet? Maybe we could crowd source writing it…?