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  1. excellent stuff dan.

    At Talk About Local we train people to find a voice online. Increasingly Facebook is the place regular folk in communities want to start. Up in Stockport, with encouragement from Stockport Council and a community budget we have been gently helping the magnificent Hayley manage a sometimes tough Facebook group on her estate.

    Often this comes down to moral support and some basic advice. One thing we advised was a simple set of rules for her to moderate against to deal with the inevitable difficult comments, often arising just after the pubs shut. They are inserted as a text block in the top right of the page. Moderation tools in Facebook are crude to say the least – we can’t work out for instance why it is hard to turn off comments overnight say (revert them to admin pre-approved), some Facebook people recently recommended Conversocial too us for discussion management – we are testing that.

    Moderation has other problems for public authorities (censorship etc) but i think they should be firm – you wouldn’t allow swearing or wildly off topic issues at a community meeting run by the council why should you allow it on your wall.

    If you want any help drop us a line

  2. Dan,

    This is really good. Thanks. Unfortunately, I think the public perception is that they just don’t have “a relationship” with their council. Most following, say, music acts on FB don’t have a “relationship” with the musicians, of course, but a key issue is that FB gives them a way of saying that, in effect, they’d like to. And FB then goes on to provide a fake version of a relationship – or a glimpse of what all relationships will now actually become, over time.

    The attitude to the Council is still largely stuck at the (Life of Brian) “What have the Romans ever done for us?” level. No amount of posting photos of civic figures “in action” will change that, and the true penetration of news and press releases is, IMO, miniscule compared to the impression comms offices give that the world is waiting for their every syllable.

    It’s people who make the difference. I remember my dealings with a head teacher of a primary school, who had said she never had visitors from “the council” come to her school. When given a list that included social workers, psychologists, welfare officers, etc, she replied “Yes, but they’re different, They’re real people.”

    Nothing more one can say to that, is there?

  3. It’s worth adding that Facebook (most likely*) rewards this kind of outreach behaviour by promoting your content more highly. Your content’s visibility is determined by an algorithm called EdgeRank that includes “affinity” as a factor. Going out and having conversations with people on their pages should increase affinity, so making it more likely they will see your content in future.

    * The caveat here is that the exact recipe of the EdgeRank algorithm is, of course, highly secret.

  4. Good post (again) – thanks Dan!

    I’m glad you raised the Facebook person / professional profile quandary issue. Although I was always under the impression that while Facebook pages can interact with other pages, they can’t interact with groups. They change the rules all the time though, so I don’t know if anyone knows any different?



  5. BWD Winter seemed to do ok. I know I keep banging on and on about it but no one seems terribly interested that it resulted in a quantifiable call drop to our call centre and saved us money. Must have done something right.

    1. On the contrary, Lou I heard it cited the other day as one of the rare examples where activity was evaluated with a cost benefit calculated. That’s valuable work. Have you a link to it at all? As Queensland Police found, in a crisis people will come to your Facebook page. A crisis – in this case snow – is the reason for their Facebook page numbers sky rocketing. For the rest of the year all too often people won’t trouble official Facebook presences.

  6. “you can use facebook as your page” I took me three reads to get this but now I have! Have now changed our settings and may be sallying forth from out moribund page shortly. Top tip! Thanks.

  7. OK – I read the ‘you can use facebook as you page’ bit more than three times, and still don’t get it! Any clues?

    1. Cheers, Ian. It basically means that if you click the ‘Use Facebook as your page’ button you can post messages to Facebook as your page and not as yourself. Cunning, eh?

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