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List and status of UK Local Council Twitters

This section was last updated on 10th February 2009

Reasons for conducting this observation

  1. To create better practices when using twitter for local gov.
  2. To create a ring of network between local councils to share information and solutions for improvement.
  3. To understand how and why we choose a certain methods and not others.
  4. To allow other councils to learn from each other and add on to the list if they wish to be apart of this ring.
  5. To develop a standard of practice that we all can follow that is tested and proven.
  6. To conduct a content analysis for my citizen engagement online research.
  7. To demonstrate to colleagues and other relevant individuals of the potential or benefits of this approach to engage citizens, if any.

UK Local Council Hall of Fame as of 18th December 2008

  1. First Council to start using Twitter:St. Helens Council 13th June 2007
  2. Newest Council to start using Twitter: Fenland Council
  3. Council with most no. of updates to date: St. Helens Council 1,203 updates
  4. Council with most no. of followers:   Barnet Council with 210 followers
  5. Council with most no. of followings: Barnet Council 243 followings
  6. Council with web link other than main council website: Barnet Council- http://friendfeed.com/barnetcouncil & Leeds City Council Press Office – http://www.leedsvirtualnewsroom.co.uk/
  7. Council with no followings: Leeds City CouncilDerby City CouncilSalford Council , Medway Council
  8. Most used update methdod:Twitterfeed
  9. Most least used update methods: Twitterfox (used by BCCTransport), Twittermail (used by Medway Council) and the Web
  10. Council using Twitter for particular service updates: Birmingham City Council Transport,Lichfield District Council Planning Applications and Leeds City Council Press Office
  11. Councils with contact details on Bio info: Devon City Council, St. Helens CouncilLincoln Council and  Medway Council

* As I am researching citizen engagement online, the variables might not make sense but my approach is to look at the variables from every angle and hopefully create a framework that will increase the likelihood of public participation online. In this case, on twitter.

Questions arising from this observation. Please answer on comments section, if you possibly have the answer for this. 😉

  1. Why do some councils choose not to follow anyone and some choose to follow many?
  2. Why do some councils put their contact details on their bio info and some don’t? How do citizens get in touch if they had further questions to the twitter ‘update’? Can they ask questions on twitter and are the staff authorised to respond since it is a twitterfeed?
  3. Since most ‘updates’ are controlled by twitterfeed, does it act more as a news ticker? Is there no engagement or participantion involved in twitter?
  4. What caused the first council using twitter to decide to use it?
  5. What caused others to follow? Is it pressure from peers and the social media movement or does Twitter really create value for citizens and councils?
  6. What did Barnet Council use friendfeed on the web link and are there any benefits from it?
  7. How did Barnet and St. Helens Councils gain the most followers? Any marketing done? – Answer received from St. Helens Council – Gain followers through social networking links on main homepage of St. Helens Council
  8. Why do some councils decide to open a Twitter Account for a specific service such as transport and Planning Applications? Is this the way to go?
  9. Why is TwitterFox and TwitterMail the least used update method?
  10. Why do some councils create webteam accounts and not others? Are there any benefits?

I welcome any comments and will be doing further observation and analysis on who they are following and who are their followers.

About Liz Azyan

Liz is a CREATIVE digital professional dedicated to helping individuals, governments and businesses realize their digital goals. She offers digital consultancy services on her website LizAzyan.com Liz is also a Google Fellowship Recipient (individuals selected based on their work and initiative in the arenas of technology, politics and social entrepreneurship), an invited expert panel on the Guardian’s Public Leader Network and has spoken at many public events and conferences on the subject of digital engagement.