24 HOUR: A Twitter experiment in local government

As never before local government needs to shout what it does from the roof tops.

 In a 24-hour experiment colleagues across Walsall Council on March 3 aim to do just that.

 This is the first time in UK local government – and possibly the world – someone has tried something on this scale.

 The target is to tweet every day tasks such as potholes, parks, litter picking, school meals and many of our 700 services.

 On their own they’re routine.

 When pieced together they create a vibrant snapshot of the vital work dedicated people in local government do every day.

 It aims to include potholes, parks school crossing patrols, road repairs, out-of-hours care and many of the 700 services local government offers.

 It aims to shine a light on dusty corners of local government.

 It aims to show areas that do their jobs day in and day out without fuss.

 We’ve taken as inspiration the 24-hour Twitter exercises in Greater Manchester Police and South Birmingham.

 We’ve also taken inspiration from people across local government who used social media to alert people to school closures and gritting.

 You can take part too by following these Twitter accounts:

Walsall Council’s Twitter stream @walsallcouncil.





There’s also more than half a dozen Twitter streams from service areas including the New Art Gallery, Walsall Museum and the Walsall Local History Centre.

 It’s important to stress that this won’t just be for Twitter. It’ll be flagged up on Facebook and we’ll post pictures to Flickr too.

 It’ll also be highlighted on our website with tweets curated after the event.

 In 2011, there is a burning need to tell these stories.

 Walsall 24 doesn’t aim to be definitive or exhaustive and not everything we do will be listed.

 But this does aim to nail the urban myth that all we do is bins.

Disclaimer:  I’m one of several helping organise the event but colleagues right across the council have made this happen.

Creative commons credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/erica_marshall/2096416037/sizes/m/in/photostream/

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  1. This is an excellent idea because I don’t think people know much about the range of work done by their councils. I suspect that even people within local government know a limited amount about what colleagues elsewhere within the organisation do.
    Some cultural institutions have been doing a great job of communicating and even storytelling within the limits of Twitter, using the broader canvas of Facebook well to encourage more dialogue and using Flickr to share great images. I would really like to see more cultural institutions sharing a little more insight into the everyday world of their work. Maybe Walsall’s example might make them think about micro-blogging it?
    I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the Walsall experiment.

  2. Couldn’t put it better Janet. Will really enjoy seeing how the day unfolds. Once again, the inspirational Dan Slee and his team, are at the forefront of local government communications.

    Good luck to the team in Walsall from all your friends and neighbours in Wolverhampton.

  3. I agree this is an absolutely brilliant idea.
    But I can’t see it working in some local authorities around the country where they’re still running scared of social media and have systems in place to block staff from using Twitter, Facebook in work And in many service areas access Twitter during work simply isn’t possible.

    It’ll be interesting to see how it goes, and what spin-off ideas it generates.

  4. And good luck from us too, this is a great idea and one which will hopefully spark a bit of appreciation for the wide range of work local government does.

  5. It would be interesting to see what the citizens think of this level of transparency; what they feel they get out of it at the end when all the facts are on the table so to speak.

    Perhaps you should also be streaming it through to a standard aggregation web page such as http://addictomatic.com/ so that people who may not necessarily “get” twitter et al could benefit from the coverage?

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