UK Councils Social Media Reputation Index for July 2012
- The top 20 UK councils for new online buzz
- Spotlights stories:
- No Tweeting In Council Meetings?
- Private vs. Public opinions
- Buzz & Media Mix and Council Service Buzz
The Top 20
These are the councils that have seen the biggest increases in the volume of online buzz they are attracting. The biggest movers (subject to them attaining a minimum number of references during the month – Districts = 100 mentions, Counties and Unitaries = 300) for this month are:
Now let’s take a look at some of the stories happening in the world of social media world
No Tweeting In Council Meetings?
Clevedon Town Council joined the latest debate around Twitter in local government this week when it banned the use of the service during council meetings.
Defending the Twitter cause was Councillor Jane Geldart, a prolific Tweeter, who believes that the use of Twitter enhances the relationship between council and citizen. Arguing that social media provides visibility and transparency of democracy and promotes engagement on local issues with the people it affects the most.
Councillor David Shopland, who originally tabled the motion to ban, said it was necessary to “prevent any misunderstanding or misinterpretation through the issue of incomplete information."
This follows a string of stories on this issue with many councils across the UK. In October the House of Commons overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to an outright ban Twitter during debates, whilst the Scottish Parliament took the opposite view and decided Twitter had no place in parliamentary sessions at Holyrood.
Private Vs Public Opinions
We often report on social media mentions from public figures where the line between personal and professional communications fails to be drawn. None more public than Councillor John Fareham, who was suspended by the Standards Committe at Hull City Council in January for an offensive tweet about protesters. Cllr Fareham was also ordered to undergo additional diversity training.
Last month an independent tribunal ruled that the councillor was not acting in his official capacity at the time and therefore he was not bound by the code of conduct. We are now waiting to hear if the council decide to take the issue further.
Some may say that the Cllr had a point about disruptive protests and, had he used more constructive language in the media,he may have better communicated his frustration to the rest of the world but does this excuse the tweet? And should he be admonished in his role as a councillor if the views were personal? Whatever the result, and this could turn out to be somewhat of a “test case” for both parties in terms of managing reputations.
Buzz & Media Mix and Council Service Buzz
Next, this month’s total references to ‘Councils’ online and it looks like things are on the up again. The surge in mentions continues. This is partly being driven by one big story at Belfast City Council. Last month we covered the tale of Lennox the dog who was put down as he was considered a dangerous breed. We would expect this activity to subside in the next month or two so we will be able to get a more realistic view of the overall trend.
Looking at the Media Mix breakdown it’s obvious that it’s Twitter that is feeding the growth in social media volume, and as we reviewed last month there has been a tweet campaign at Belfast that is skewing the data at present but we expect to see this decrease shortly.
Council service mentions in July were dominated by Planning and Building Control and Libraries.
PublicServiceMonitor images and chart data may be used provided PublicServiceMonitor is credited accordingly.
For a more comprehensive service description please look at www.publicservicemonitor.com/about
Monthly Buzz Index methodology – Details can be found here
About PublicServiceMonitor – PublicServiceMonitor trawls the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week, searching through news, blogs, forums and social media sites. It reads through all of this information and summarises what’s being said about UK councils, and can even tell you whether the sentiment is positive or negative (similar to the election worm we have seen at #leadersdebate). The service was launched in December 2009 so is still quite early on, but by measuring a benchmark group of councils on a consistent basis we hope to be able to provide some national trend information relating to what people are saying about their councils – and how they choose to say it.