Newly Elected Councillor? …then this is for you!

Are you a newly elected cllr? Well congratulations! Please accept these links from the CllrSocMed Team as a welcome gift.

Over the last few months the team have been running cllr lead social media sessions across the Yorkshire & Humber region. Along the way we have had some great fun, worked hard, and gathered together a wide range of resources, all freely available to you, the elected.

There’s a mixture of advice and guidance from short instructional videos, to real insights directly from some of your cllr peers who use social  media on a daily basis.

It can all be found on the CllrSocMed site, but below are links to give you an idea of what the social media world could mean to you.

Councillors and social media …why bother?

Steven Tuck explains …the internet and social media (in 2 minutes)

Some Tips on Twitter: Twitter in Plain English

Cllrs and Twitter: some alternative case studies

Steven Tuck explains …what is a blog? (in 2 minutes) How to set up a blog Add a new post and insert an image

Cllr Simon Cooke …talks Cllrsocmed

Cllr Tim Cheetham …talks Cllrsocmed

Cllr Mike Jordan …talks Cllrsocmed

That should be plenty for now. We would advise listening to your fellow councillors, it really is about you and them, rather than us!

Oh, and if you feel the urge, please feel free to add yourself to our councillor social media map.

Best of luck to all of you. Here’s to the future!!


Cllrs and Twitter (Some Alternative Case Studies)

Cllrsocmed is all about encouraging councillors to use social media and see the benefits.  This has been the main objective of our sessions and the purpose of this site.  Nevertheless, the sessions we have run have always featured a discussion about responsible use, standards, the law and public perception.  We try to find and use positive case studies, but sometimes the “alternative” case studies that emerge demonstrate the point.  There have been two examples recently that serve as pointers for councillors in terms of what can go wrong and how the immediacy of Twitter can have repercussions.  The headlines tell the story:

For every story like these it’s important to remember that councillors up and down the country are using Twitter to great effect as part of their many roles and are not getting positive headlines for it, which is a shame.  If proof is needed go check out TweetyHall.  Related posts include:

Cllr Tim Cheetham Talks Cllrsocmed

Between providing expert help and advice at our session in Scarborough, Cllr Cheetham took time to do this short video clip.  Follow Cllr Cheetham on Twitter (@cllrtim) or view his blog.

Debate? What About a Twibate Canadian Style?

As we enter the election period I thought it might be timely to share something I stumbled on a few months ago.  Through the wonderful world of Twitter I came across a tweet from Kirk Schmidt who is one of a number of folk involved in  They are:

“Bloggers, pundits, and citizens, trying to cover civic politics in a semi-organized way, to share the burden each of us thought we’d have to shoulder alone, cover the races and candidates that the mainstream media can’t or won’t, and maybe add a hint of mischief to what is typically a NOTORIOUSLY dry subject, covered in notoriously dry ways.”

I recommend a detailed look at their site – they are doing some brilliant stuff designed to facilitate interest and engagement in politics.  One specific piece of work they have initiated involves the use of Twitter for political debating purposes.  It’s called a Twibate.  Full details of the what and the how are captured by Kurt and his colleagues.  In essence –

“The Twibate is an opportunity to have the candidates online, answering questions in a debate, combined with opportunity for any follower to engage, ask follow-up questions, and learn more about the candidates in one place.  11 mayoralty candidates have Twitter so far, as do almost 30 aldermanic candidates.”

I think there might be some real opportunities here for local government in this country.  Using social media to generate interest in and engagement and dialogue with politicians has got to be something worth considering in more detail.

Cllr Simon Cooke talks Social Media

A few words from one councillor to another.  A brief video clip of Cllr Simon Cooke following the cllrsocmed session at Scunthorpe.  Follow Simon on Twitter (@simonmagus) or view his blog.

some tips on twitter

LGCYH – Twitter Ye Not?

In the final part of the councillor session at #lgcyh we discussed Twitter.  None of the councillors in the group currently used Twitter so without hesitation we pulled up the brilliant Tweetyhall.  A great way to explain what Twitter is from a councillor perspective.

Cllr Cheetham and Cllr Cooke went through how they used Twitter in their councillor role, passing on a few tips along the way.  These included:

– follow as many councillors as you can – this is a good short cut to finding how councillors use Twitter to good effect;

– remember that followers are interested in what you are doing (don’t underestimate the impact of the “human side” of being a councillor);

– it’s a great way of extending your councillor and officer network – help, advice and different perspectives are only 140 characters away.  It’s cheaper than going to conferences;

– it’s quick, cheap and easily links with other social media tools that councillors might use.

Our discussion looked at how councillors and politicians have used Twitter to good effect, including:

– how #tags are a great tool for bringing discussions together into one place (some councils are looking at making ward based #tags a standard);

– the positive use of Twitter by local and national politicians during the General Election, both as a broadcasting tool and as a means of campaigning;

– a good way to quickly and succinctly get key messages to local people – examples of how Twitter was used during the snow this winter struck a real chord with the group.

As with the other discussions, we also looked at some of the Twitter headline stories – Tweeting in meetings,  Stuart Maclennan and talked through issues around responsible use.  Tweeting in meetings seems to be a subject that divides – the consensus on the day was that it is another way of opening up democracy to the wider public.  That said, there is a developing view in some councils that it is disrespectful and is an indicator that councillors aren’t concentrating on the business of the meeting.  Another, amongst many, social media dilemmas for councillors and councils.