Friday, 4 July 2008

Our government using social media to engage us?!


I am going to have to bite my lip very hard to avoid becoming partisan regarding the current (and past!) government, as this is most definately NOT a political post!

As I have posted before, I use Twitter frequently to update my peers and co-workers on what I'm up to, and to keep track of other people's news, views and movements - this is very insightful and I often find things out well before they are reported in the daily press, or even on major news feeds.

So I was delighted recently to discover that I could use Twitter to track events and developments at Number 10, even though I do only have a passing interest.. The point is, Twitter enables a rich stream of news and events in real time, but you dont have to read everything and dont need to respond or save the communication, either.

And, you might even get greeted by this in your inbox, too, which is nice:


The way Number 10 are using it appears to be a combination of manual updates (so they must have a social media manager employed!) and some automated routines that feed a "ticker" of short news clips through the twitter engine. The balance of collaboration over transmission is pretty good too, as I felt included rather than spoken at; many of the "tweets" (a message post to Twitter is called a tweet) offer a link to a webpage where you can interract and feedback on opinion or news.

Whatever your political persuasion, I dont think you can deny that it is a useful and interesting way of keeping up with what is going on at the core of our Government. (And I reckon, due to the limit of 140 characters for each tweet, there is a lower chance, though not impossible of course, of spin!)

Show us a better way!
I was also pointed to another interesting engagement attempt via Twitter - The Power of Information Workforce has launched a competition to find and develop better ways to publish the vast swathes of non-personal information that the government collects & creates along its way. Its an interesting social media project and some of the ideas already submitted show how relevant and how much desire there is for such an initiative.

I was slightly disappointed that no real effort had been made to provide any social bookmarking tools (such as Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon, thereby rendering sharing and conversations about it more difficult, but I guess they have to start somewhere!)

I shall be keeping a close eye on it to see what wins and what else happens as spin-off social projects from this.

What do you think? Is this further careless spreading of our private data, or do you agree its an interesting and progressive project from the traditional and protective civil service?

1 comment:

martyn@preview said...

a fews years behind david cameron and the rest of the country (quite fitting) is the new number 10 website

on puffbox