DO A DONCASTER: The greatest piece of digital content from local government ever

Ladies and gentlemen, in Northern England this week a powerboat was dumped on the street and as a result Doncaster Council won the internet.

The speed boat will not be the only thing dumped across the country with the cost likely to top £50 million across the UK.

Every council across the country is forced to pay to clean-up illegally dumped waste. But aside the financial cost there’s the cost to communities blighted by bags of rubbish.

An everyday story told in GIFs

GIFs are short animations which date from the 1990s. For the past 30 years GIFs have been used across parts of the internet to make a point or tell a story. The public sector at first hesitant to use these animated devices have started slowly to use them.

Doncaster Council’s comms team decided to tell this everyday story using GIFs. It is magnificent. Human, witty, warm and engaging. Will it work for everthing? No. Does it work for this? Absolutely.

The great twin triumph of this is not the web architecture of GIFs that creates it. What makes it a triumph is the reaction it gets from people, firstly. They smile and connect. But most of all it is the willingness to experiment.

A story told as a thread of GIFs

And the story begins…

The chief praises the work…

But perhaps the cherry on top of the cake is that Doncaster Council’s chief executive used Twitter to send them a fist-bump.

The idea is to tell stories every week using the technique of Twitter thread and GIFs. That’s fine. But the real win in this is experimenting with how people are already using the internet. This won’t work in every piece of communications. That’s fine.

But where this does win is by creating human and engaging content. As a resident you’d want to follow the account.

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