About Me

Full-time husband and dad, Head of Governance and Democratic Services at Kirklees Council. Passionate about democracy, local government, Sheffield United, my mountain bike and punk rock. Views here are my own

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Councillor - You've Been Warned

By chance I came across an article in the Independent yesterday with the headline - Councillor, 18, Gets Facebook Warning.  OK, lets unpick this one before I let my biased views come spilling through.

Lets look at the facts.  We have a young councillor - this is good.  We have a councillor who is a user of social media - this is good.  We have a council that rightly wants to manage its reputation and support a new councillor in their new role - this is good.  

The problem is, none of these are the main features of the story.  The portrayal is one of a bureaucracy seeking to clip the wings of a new comer who might have some desires to use these social media gadgets to make "inappropriate comments". 

I think this cameo piece illustrates a lot of the challenges that forward thinking authorities and their councillors face.  The easy headline, which coincidentally portrays the councillor and the local authority in a less than positive light, perpetuates a climate where both retreat into a place that hinders innovation, engagement and dialogue using new media.

Bit of a shame really.  Lots of work still to do then.

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