SOCIAL NATION: Further adventures with 24-hour Twitter

Like a wild flower seed a good idea can take root in unexpected places, grow and get better.

One such idea is the idea of using Twitter to tweet in real time what local government is up to.

Starting with snow, ice and grit alerts in 2009 the approach went stellar in 2010 when Greater Manchester Police tweeted calls it recieved.

As a local government approach, Walsall 24 saw a 24 hour snapshot of what local government does from crossing patrols, complaints about rats as big as badgers to missing people reported to social care staff at 1am.

As proud as I am to be involved with that project, we always hoped that a little further down the track that idea would be eclipsed by something far more impressive.

Go, Scotland!

With practically the whole of Scottish local government coming together to live tweet what it does that moment looks to arrived. And then some.

A total of 28 of 32 local councils in Scotland are taking part from noon on Tuesday September 27. You can read about it here.

It’s a fantastic achievement just to reach the start line and yet to me this is no surprise. There are some hugely talented people in Scotland. I met some of them on a trip to an LG Comms seminar in Dalkeith  near Edinburgh earlier this year.

I’m looking forward to meeting many of them again at the Public Sector Network event in Glasgow on Wednesday September 28.

It’ll be good to see how the Scottish Twitter 24 event develops. That hashtag for that is #whatwedo.

Go, Bracknell!

It’s also brilliant to see Bracknell Forest Council in Southern England look to stage a 24 hour event using 140 character updates. On Monday September 26 using the hashtag #yourbfc for Your Bracknell Forest Council. The single council approach definitely still works and the benefits both internally and for Bracknell residents in knowing more about what their council does will be worth it. You can read more here.

Should real time Twitter only be used on large scale 24 hour events? Hell, no although there’s a place for it. I’m convinced the approach can work on a smaller level and become part of the comms mix routinely. In other words, it can become something that’s part of everyday use.

For example, if you’re looking to explain a new traffic scheme, yes write the press release but also walk the route with the engineers, tweet in real time and take pictures or video footage to help explain the project.

Curating and storing 

The one thing I’d always suggest would be to find a way to store and preserve some of the content.

There was some recent research that showed the lifespan of a tweet to be three hours. Something like Storify can preserve what you’ve produced as well as allowing non-Twitter users to see what you’re up to. This is a Storify from Walsall 100.

Some other useful linked social events

Water Aid 24 Saw a water charity span the globe from Australia to Zambia over a 24 hour period to tweet from the frontline as well as from its support centres. It’s something I blogged about before. The press release is here. The piece in Brand Republic is here.

Shropshire 360 Saw Shropshire County Council tweet over the course of a week focussing on different areas of what it does every day. Press release.

Walsall 100 Saw West Midlands Police join with Walsall Council and public sector partners to tweet on topics over a seven day period. This covered a police initiative against errant drivers to a Q&A with regeneration staff LGC Plus, council web page, blog on the aims, council website, residents’ local history blog,

Mole Vale District Council during #molevalley15 became the first district council to use the linked social approach and tweeted day-to-day tasks. They reached 3,000 people against a following list of 300: Press release.

RSPCA the animal charity staged a 24 hour Twitter #rspca247 event to highlight the day-to-day tasks it does. Sky News.

Tameside Council. 24 hour Twitter in June 2011 focussing on day-to-day tasks. Council press release,  Manchester Evening News, The Guardian.


5 Comments on “SOCIAL NATION: Further adventures with 24-hour Twitter”

  1. Andrew says:

    I know your list isn’t meant to be comprehensive, but could I add a project I was involved in? In July Surrey Police live tweeted every car crime we received in our call handling centre over the course of a week (using the #CarCrime hashtag). Interspersed with the listings of stolen vehicles and thefts of valuables from cars were crime prevention suggestions and statistics to illustrate the scale of the issue.

    We launched the week live on BBC Radio Surrey and then held a live tweetchat at lunchtime on the first day when anyone could ask our Superintendent in charge of the campaign questions around car crime.

    The event was an enormously successful way of raising the awareness of the problem, and the little actions that you can take to combat car crime.

    My personal highlight was when someone tweeted back to us that they would be clearing the garage that weekend, so they could lock the car away, as a direct result of the tweets we had been sending.

  2. Mike Foster says:

    I want to put on the record my thanks to Dan and Darren from Walsall Council who gave us the inspiration and practical guidance on how to run WaterAid24. It helped bring our work much closer to home to our supporters and those concerned with the fact that 4000 children die each day as a result of dirty drinking water and poor sanitation.

    Mike Foster
    Head of Communications
    WaterAid

    • Dan Slee says:

      No problem, Mike. It was good to chat to you and then to see how you’d really taken the idea and run with it on a global scale…

  3. [...] of course, was started by the folk at Greater Manchester Police. Dan Slee details the growing trend here. Share/Bookmark Carl HaggertyDamian RadcliffeDan SleeEric PicklesFacebookKen ClarkeMinistry of [...]


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