CeBIT09: Mosman Council averts "creepy" Twitter potential

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CeBIT09: Mosman Council averts "creepy" Twitter potential

Mosman City Council has called Twitter participation its “biggest win” in social networking engagement with residents over the past nine months.

Speaking at the CeBIT eGovernment forum today, the Council's Internet Coordinator Bernard De Broglio said Twitter has "come from nowhere" to become the eleventh top referrer of traffic to the Council's web site.

According to De Broglio, Twitter had enabled Council to have conversations with constituents "that you don't normally have [when you're] in Council."

He cited examples where tweets notifying residents of a retaining wall collapse in the suburb had generated positive comments from residents, and where notifications of Council events had been re-tweeted by Twitter users to a wider variety of people than would normally have been possible for Council to engage with.

The Council is also actively listening into social media feeds "to see what people are saying about our suburb and localities.

"I get a list of mentions and send it in an email to key staff regularly," De Broglio said.

But the experience hadn't been all plain sailing. De Broglio referred to an incident where a Twitter user objected to the Council following them on Twitter, saying they found it "very creepy that Mosman Council is following me".

"If you go on Twitter as an organisation you will be called out very quickly," he said.

"That experience led to us develop a Twitter policy and outline on why we were doing this, which is now on our website."

Part of the reason the Council chose to embrace social networking - including Twitter, Youtube and Flickr - is to increase traffic to its website.

De Broglio cited Hitwise/eGOV AU figures that show only 0.15 per cent of all web page visits in Australia are to local government websites.

Publishing information to other spheres had attracted clicks - some 32,000 in March - and increased engagement opportunities with residents, he said.

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