Survey of Social Media in LG

Facebook, Twitter and Linked In are more than computer buzzwords, they are becoming part of a new way to communicate.

The Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) is about to capture a snapshot of how Australian Local Governments are using social media.

In October, a short online survey questionnaire was sent to every Council in the country requesting the CEO or General Manager or relevant person in the organisation to share their views and experiences about using social media.

The results will feed into an ACELG Issues Paper, which aims to assist with building capacity and understanding in the Local Government sector when it comes to using social media.

ACELG is encouraging every single Council, from metropolitan areas right through to remote, to take the ten minutes to share their attitudes and experiences with regard to social media.

Professor John Howard, Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Canberra, said he was particularly keen to understand the different issues and concerns that Councils have with social media.

"For example, do they see social media as presenting an opportunity for Councils, or do the risks, resourcing requirements and other barriers act to prevent Councils from using social media?" he said.

"Available evidence suggests that social media can be a highly useful, cost effective and timely communication and engagement tool for Councils, and has the potential to drive productivity and performance improvements, as well as generating significant financial savings."

As public bodies, Councils have properly identified relevant risks and once they have put into place appropriate risk management strategies, many have begun to apply social media in exciting ways.

The aggregated information will provide baseline data for further studies over time, and in the process enable organisations such as ACELG, Local Government Associations and other peak professional organisations to work on tools that can assist Councils.

Both the national survey and the Issues Paper are supported by all State Territory and national Local Government Associations and will be completed by the end of this year.

The University of Canberra is one of the five ACELG consortium members.