This won’t be a long in-depth post, I won’t be quoting research or statistics.
My thoughts are quite simple really and if I compare the relative success of twitter by councils as opposed to facebook, it isn’t really rocket science why it hasn’t worked.
Lets start with a few key things about twitter.
- you only have 2 privacy settings – Open or Closed
- twitter is a wider environment not specifically tied into people’s personal or family social networks.
- twitter is not about existing networks but actually helps people to build and connect to larger ones
- you don’t need approval to follow someone (unless you’ve blocked your account)
Now compare that to facebook and you can start to understand some of the complexity that exists for councils before even reaching someones stream.
- the privacy settings are multi-level, multi-user and are only becoming more complicated as each month passes.
- facebook is more about existing connections and networks
- the process of connecting requires both parties to approve.
So take these simply things and then think about how a council fits into this picture.
I appreciate I’ve simplified so much here but you don’t need me to tell you all the differences between them….
So my assumption and conclusion is that twitter is great for those people who want to find out information without having to seek approval from people…in fact a bit like subscribing to an RSS feed but with opportunities to actually engage with the content.
The use of facebook will only ever “really” work for local government when we actually already have connections with people…so it really could be seen as an extension of a CRM system as opposed to a communications platform as it is about existing connections and not about creating new ones.
Once you see it in this way, you’ll start to think of more appropriate ways to use it.
So the reason local government hasn’t cracked facebook is because it is trying to reach “new” people and not focusing on adding value to those people it already has connections with…this is one reason I believe libraries make such good use from facebook.