March 14, 2011

ARE SOCIAL MEDIA THE FUTURE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT?

LONDON -- Social media have already transformed how the private sector conducts commerce. And they are rapidly altering the way local governments do business as well.

Last week, an enterprising government in the English city of Walsall undertook an interesting experiment. For 24 hours,
a local council (county) posted all of its activities on Twitter. The tweets ranged from information on pothole repairs to efforts to combat racism in public housing to calls for cleaning up dog excrement.

The idea was to
give the community a sense of the problems its government confronts -- and tackles -- in an ordinary day. "People here are genuinely doing it because they believe in local government and what local government does, a lot of which goes unrecognized or unreported," said a council spokesman.

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