I’m not thick, but …..

I like to think that I can pick things up relatively quickly.  Not always instantly, that would be greedy, but I tend to get the gist of things not long after I’ve read or heard about them. But something is bothering me, something so huge, dynamic, and chameleon-like in its rapid evolution that I’m starting to doubt my own intelligence.

What’s bothering me is social media. Not its existence, I think it’s fantastic, nor its ability to communicate at a speed we could previously have only imagined, I think this is awesome.  What is bothering me is a practical conundrum that affects me and anyone else working in local government communications or communications in general, namely what is its best use?

Has anyone out there hit upon the answer, found the golden thread, or fired the silver bullet? I’m not doubting it has a wide range of uses, I just want reassuring. There is no easier way to while away, or waste if you want, a few hours than by indulging in one or more of the social networking tools now available, but once we’ve all stopped enjoying ourselves, what does social media mean for local government communications? Clear and demonstrable proof would help us all to convince the sceptics that if they’re not already on board, then they should be.

We’ve seen how it can literally change the world in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere.  Many of us have dabbled, using social media for big campaigns and community engagement and for communicating more immediate information during periods of bad weather or other rapidly changing situations.  But if you were asked as local government communicators to list your top five practical uses for social media in the UK’s communities, with evidence to prove your case, what would they be?

Answers on a post-card (see what I did there).

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