Friday, 10 February 2012

Twitter and external comms

Oxfordshire County Council have finally started to use their twitter account for something other than tweeting pointless (mostly to me anyway) press releases. They have been tweeting about if the gritters are out or not and if icy roads are expected. Since I moan about them all the time I thought a "well done" was in order. I hope this is the start of OCC using twitter properly. It is probably the most powerful communications tool available now and there are so many great ways it can be used to get information to people. Other ideas for them could be:

  • Live traffic updates
  • School closures
  • Live tweeting of council meetings
  • Twitter debates on a hashtag with councillors and officers answering questions from the public
  • Bus delays

These are just off the top of my head at 11:30 at night, there are probably loads of extra things I haven't thought of and will add more if and when they occur to me. The Oxford mail have stolen a march on them by tweeting about schools that have been closed because of the snow. I don't know if they got this information from the schools directly or from the OxfordshireCC, either way the council should have this information before anyone else.

Not only could they separate out these things with hashtags, they could have separate account for them and people who are interested in traffic can follow and have text alerts whenever the account tweets. It has to be used carefully of course, I wouldn't use it like that if it was the endless stream of other things on the account.

Twitter can be a great thing for improving democracy and getting all the huge amounts of information OCC have to the people that need it. I only hope they and the councillors have the wit to use it.

I hate visio but have do a very quick and simple diagram:

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