You’ll have noticed its been snowing….and there has been lots of twitter action at #uksnow (interesting article on this here).  I have been keeping a vague eye on the the council’s using twitter to communicate snow information as these kinds of ‘crisis comms’ needs is one of the ways we see the Virtual Town Hall being used.  However I wanted to note what Chorley have been doing as its the best practice I have seen and I am wondering if there is anyone else using twitter in the same way.  I’ve grabbed a couple of excerpts below (full feed at http://twitter.com/ChorleyCouncil but things I have noted are:

  • The tone – its informative but also informal – just right I think
  • They are responding to incoming tweets – and look at the times – this is not just 9-5
  • They are giving real time information!
  • There is a real sense of a human being here which I think makes all the difference – but they are not actually offering different info to the Council website – just doing it in a way that makes sense in the context of twitter

And also this:

I am sure that many people have seen this but I just wanted to keep a note of it as its such a good example.  I thought of doing this as a compare/contrast piece as there are a lot of council’s using twitter to put out press releases etc which I don’t think is nearly as effective as what Chorley are doing – and I started to get fairly judgemetal about the fact.  However given that far more council’s are not using it at all I think anyone who is giving this a go needs to be thanked – and I think its better to note the best practice and hope we can learn from it – must be the Christmas spirit!!

So…not an original topic as everyone interested in social media is currently navel gazing on the same subject but you can’t have a research diary without recording these thoughts…so here we go….current twitter status:  37 tweets in with 49 followers and following 85 people so its early days but my thoughts to date are:

  • I like it – I like the sense that you can grab hold of the slipstream of a conversation and join it for as long as you want and then let go – and the fact that it is always there to dip into.  You would drive yourself mad by thinking you can listen to all the tweets but it’s fascintating to be able to tap into the stream on consciousness on demand
  • This is a little dangerous as it means that you treat twitter like digital ephemera – but its not – its part of your digital footprint.  Are people not thinking about this or are they taking a ‘secuirty through obscruity’ tack on this?  Given how little people think about digital identity generally perhaps its the latter.
  • You have to remember that you are only listening to a tiny part of the world – because its fairly ‘loud’ in your digital set-up its easy to think its more important than it is – you need to have a sense of balance
  • I know I am dull on the subject but twitter is made for real-time web which means an iPhone (or the like) would really help here….
  • It can have a huge effect on blog readership – I have been tweeting new blog posts and there is a clear correlation in terms of readership.  No real sense as yet as to what makes this happen more or less – am currently just grateful that it happens at all!
  • I wonder if the new twitter lists will help or hinder – perhaps by organising the ‘stream of consciousness’ it becomes just another channel rather than something rather organic that you dip in and out of – but we shall have to see
  • That being said – I am very intrigued by the idea of country or county listsgood article on tech crunch on this – as this has massive potential for Local Democracy
  • I am following a few councils and the ones which I think work best actually seem to be thinking about what they tweet rather than repurposing existing RSS feeds

Will revisit this as a 100 tweet celebration to see if anything has changed….

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