I recently caught up with Simon Wakeman at Medway Council and asked him about Medways digital engagement activities. Simon is the Head of Marketing at Medway Council as well as a freelance communications consultant. A transcript of the video interview can be found below.
- Q: So Simon, in your expert opinion… What’s the role of social media in local authorities?
I think there’s a number of roles. I think from my point of view, we see social media being an integral part of many of our campaigns we’re running in 2009. We need to think about where its appropriate to use social media but increasingly all our marketing campaigns lies in social media element whether its social networking, blogs, podcasts, but will also need to make sure we think about social media as well as traditional media.
- Q: What are Medway Councils plans for social media?
I think we’re particularly excited about consultations. So using social media in a way to engage with those who wouldn’t traditionally engage with us in consultations. So normally consultations will be public meetings, adverts, and written feedbacks. We want to do something far more interactive this year involving social media, involving video, involving audio, involving static images, something where we mash that all together in a really interactive way of consulting with people in Medway.
- Q: Are you planning to do anything with maps?
I think increasingly our content are becoming geotag and we’re increasingly starting to understand that content has relevance in place in the physical world as well as online and so actually using maps to draw together digital content relating to place in Medway is important. So we could have a map-based website almost where we amalgamate about services with provide, location of our services, photos, images, documents, anything related to that place so people can understand the context of the place around them.
- Q: How about social media for internal communications?
I think local government workforce is a very diverse workforce, spaced off in different geographical areas and a lot of the workforce doesn’t meet. They work different hours, they work shifts. So actually social media allows you to create a community across those geographical areas and different time working patterns. So I think you’ll be starting to look into internal social networks for certain interest groups, and also using things like blogs, possibly audio and video podcasting, forums for leaders to actually communicate their vision across the organization.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT? PLEASE SHARE YOUR IDEAS 🙂
Liz is a researcher who is interested in the ways new kinds of social data and technology introduce challenges and opportunities to society.