This month I got to go to Dublin to talk to some great people from Dublin City Council who are looking, like we all are, to better understand how the internet is changing what they do.
There I got to meet The Studio a kind of crack team of people enabling change with skills from different parts of local government.
I also got to hear how Carmel McCartney, a community worker for the council has built and nurtured a Facebook page to serve the Crumlin community in the north of the city . There’s also Pauline Sargent who runs a hyperlocal blog in the community of Drimnagh who has met and connected with Carmel.
Carmel, although she doesn’t know it, is doing things that in years to come with be second nature to community workers. She set-up a Facebook page for one of the community she serves. She’s savvy enough to know that the 83 likes she has on her page isn’t the measure of what she’s doing. What is is that when she posts other neighbourhood Facebook pages pick up on this and share her content which allows her to reach thousands.
At the heart of it is a simple thing. It’s basically the council talks to it’s residents at the place where they’re gathering.
There should be more people like Carmel and in truth there are. But they’re often the people and in places you’d least expect.
Similarly, hyperlocal blogger Pauline Sargent is another glimpse of what things should look like. Her hyperlocal site Drimnagh is Good seeks to better tell people about what is going on in the community and sites like hers should be welcomed as part of the news landscape. They won’t always say great things about the council. But then newspapers don’t either but we think nothing about engaging with them where we can.
The whole relationship between blogger and local government is something that will become more important. Just because we never have is no reason to never will. I’ve written about what the blogger – press officer relationship should look like before.
But as Pauline and Carmel show it all just boils down to building good, human relationships. Offline as well as online.
Creative commons credit