Facebook In Devon – Statistics

Whilst raising awareness of social networking and the possibilities that it offers local government, something which i am always asked is “So how many people are we really talking about then?”

Well i thought i would find out, so I used the facebook “advertising” option and this is the results based on facebook’s Estimates.

All the following statistics are based on these search criteria:

who live in the United Kingdom
who live within 25 miles of Exeter, Barnstaple, Torquay, Newton Abbot, Tiverton or Plymouth
Age range

  • Under 25 – 66,560 people
  • 26- 40 – 56,380 people
  • 41 – 55 – 23,300 people
  • 56 plus – 5,240 people
  • Men – 73,780 people
  • Women – 79,180 people

What I find interesting about these statistics is that for most groups we are talking about the size of a small/medium town, so it would seem to add value to the argument that we really need to listen and communicate/engage these people somehow to find out what we can do to improve services locally for them.

The bigger question though for me and i’m not 100% sure of the answer although i’d guess at No is:

  • Are these people likely to be engaged already in Shaping Local Services?

Now facebook isn’t the only tool, but it does provide a good example of the level of people locally who you could reach, and who are likely to have not been reached before. Surely that can only be good for local democracy and service improvement.


How do ants know what to do?

I was sent an email yesterday , which i didn’t get around to looking at until today, i looked at my twitter feed and noticed Dave Briggs had posted some links and one of them focused on a response to Ads on local council websites. The exact email i had been sent…..An interesting concept but something I don’t agree with, if they are purely commercial. Unless we can control what and who i don’t think we will be embarking on this journey sometime soon.

Paul Canning has an interesting perspective on this topic, which is worth a read…

There are some implications to brand and reputation which will need to be managed or at least acknowledged going down this route. BUT and i guess this contradicts myself here if we could support local businesses or even regional businesses then it maybe something we could consider, but is isn’t something to get me excited about this month.

I was reading a bit more Clay Shirky, “Here comes everybody – The power of organising without organisations”. It got me thinking about “How do ants know what to do” this is an interesting overlap in that ants organise themselves without organisations and each one knows exactly what to do….maybe an ant version of CB radio or sms exists which we can’t measure, after all they have some great antenna, they must be used for something!