Sorry to tell you that no-one wants to make friends with a council

I’ve been out and about again this week and speaking to Council’s about their social web strategies. Its interesting (to me at least!) to note a couple of the ideas which seem to have the greatest resonance as it would be good to know if these are themes which are emerging anywhere else:

  • Government should not be building social networking platforms when this is already done so successfully – no-one wants to be friends with a council and trying to recreate FaceBook is an expensive waste of time as councils try to act corporately in a space which is designed for individuals
  • Council years are slower than internet years – which are faster than normal time. To accommodate these differential you need to build a permanent online civic space which will outlast the next big fad
  • You need to find ways to connect to people in the wider social web and invite them to the civic space – you can’t expect them to move their conversations there and you can’t expet them to turn up spontaneously
  • You need to focus around the citizen is the same way as transactional service are focused around the customer in the one stop shop

Anyway – this is starting to sound like a manifesto but would like to know what you think. Am I stating the obvious or barking up the wrong tree?

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