I just came across this passage in a report prepared for a Leeds City Council committee meeting. Is it a first?
“The webcast did lead to significant interest and discussion on Twitter and Facebook where contributors generally welcomed the initiative and suggested that it should be a regular feature with some requests that it should cover more of the decision making meetings”
No. It’s the social media media bit. It’s the first time I’ve seen that the council has built the findings of its monitoring of social media into a topical report up for debate by councillors.
Anyone familiar with the council’s official social media outlets will know that they’re mostly used for broadcasting to the public and for fielding and responding to queries and complaints.
But this is different.
This is the council using Twitter and Facebook to listen. And not just to listen, but to take note(s) and feed back what it’s heard on a particular topic to the people who need to hear it.
I realise that social media, and Twitter in particular, aren’t necessarily representative of the people of Leeds, but then neither is the council’s main consultation platform, the Citizens Panel.
And admittedly webcasting council meetings isn’t a topic that gets everybody’s pulse racing (see Facebook panel below).
But it’s a good sign that we’ve got a new channel of communication that appears to be working, isn’t it?
Thumbs up for regular webcasts pretty certain
For those interested in the webcasting issue, it’s up for discussion at what’s called the Member Management Committee next week (4th June).
At the meeting councillors will discuss how the two trials have gone so far (the 8th May session and an earlier attempt in November that didn’t go out live).
They’ll pass their views on to another committee, the General Purposes Committee, who’ll make a decision on whether to make the webcasts a regular event, maybe at a meeting on 18th June.
Given what the report has to say about the 8th May session, it looks pretty certain that they’ll give the idea the thumbs up. And the live feedback from the public on social media will have helped inform the decision.
“The technology worked well and there were no particular issues or difficulties in setting up and webcasting the live meeting. Very little promotion or publicity was issued about the webcast. The live webcast was viewed by 588 viewers and has been viewed in the archive by 454 viewers. Analysis of number of viewers shows that 29 out of 735, only 4%, were from internal LCC IP addresses,” the report said.
If you want to know what a council webcast looks like and how it works, click on the image below and watch the recording.