Lower those expectations, Benji

I’ve been wondering what it would take to trigger a slightly gloaty “I’ve moved house” post. I didn’t think it would be a grumble about how my new local council “does social media”.

The #wmgrit hashtag is a great amalgamation of tweets from around the region regarding gritters, gritting routes and combating some of the lazy “I’ve not seen a gritter therefore my council aren’t doing anything about grit anywhere” tweets that sometimes pop up.

Here’s a lovely Socitim Report on the twitter gritters and a report from the BBC on the twitter gritters.

I’m used to seeing tweets like this (Birmingham, West Midlands, Telford and Shropshire tweeters have spoiled me):

I’ve been gently adding Wrexham based twitter accounts and cheekily tweeted this on Monday night (I even invented my own hashtag, look at me world, I get social media. If you can’t spot the sarcasm in that statement….)

I was even polite and thanked the local council for doing what they do.

I then thought about asking Wrexham council to start using the #wrxgrit tag and tweeting when the gritters go out.

I want the information tweeted because it’s useful information, I like knowing what my council tax pays for, I like knowing what my local council, councillors, MP are up to on my behalf. I like that personal connection to a (sometimes) huge and impersonal organisation. When I lived in Birmingham some of the first people I followed on twitter were from the Birmingham Bloggers group (We were on twitter BO- before Oprah) . They modeled good twitter etiquette, good citizenship, good community leadership, creativity, rallying around people that needed it, banal activism, serious activism, they were (and remain) good people to show me the ways twitter could be great/silly/banal/creative. (The Great Snow C*ck Hunt of Edgbaston remains one of my favourite things. Getting ready to sleep and seeing a small band of tweeters were heading into Cannon Hill Park to hunt for a snow c*ck, joining them and meeting lovely people, having a snowball fight and romping in the snow)

Shropshire was an equally formative experience for me. My local council “got twitter” and was using it in interesting ways. It wasn’t just pushing info to the website, it was engaged with the #wmgrit efforts.

I guess I’m used to things being different and have been struck by the phrase “resources don’t allow us to commit”. It makes me sad that they can’t tweet when gritters go out. Naturally I cheekily offered to go and run their social media accounts, I’m not as expensive to employ as you might think. (If anyone has a job they want to offer locally to Wrexham or Chester, get in touch)

Seriously too: Any suggestions on how to better engage my local council rather than just telling them “You’re doing it wrong, give me a job”?


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6 Responses to Lower those expectations, Benji

  1. Tim Lloyd says:

    Get the local press behind you, and other local tweeters? I’ve found that works.

  2. Matt Knight says:

    That person who replied “resources don’t allow” is probably desperate to be allowed to do more with the Twitter account. Their boss is probably worried about the idea of committing to something else that they don’t understand when they’re seeing their overall levels of resource diminish. Email the head of department and tell them what a great job their Twitter person is doing. Drop into the last paragraph that you hope it will be possible to expand social media services in the future, along the lines of other councils. (If you are able to, DM the Twitter account and invite the person responsible along to the next local government social media meet up.)

    • Ben W says:

      Mind you, Wrexham councillors are banned from using social media during meetings. It could potentially be a problem that reaches throughout the council.

  3. Ben W says:

    I appreciate that I’ve been spoiled by previous local authorities and, to a certain extent, the railway companies I deal with on a day-to-day basis as @benjionthetrain.

    I don’t think I’m asking too much…

  4. Pingback: Lower those expectations, Benji | weeklyblogclub

  5. Pingback: Love of learning, love of place, love of cats | weeklyblogclub

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