Is Hart an­ti­so­cial? Fewest wit­ter fol­low­ers of Hamp­shire coun­cils

‘So­cial me­dia is rightly used but should not sur­pass other forms of com­mu­ni­ca­tion,’ says coun­cil­lor

Aldershot News & Mail - - CONTACTS -

HART District Coun­cil has the worst Twit­ter fol­lower rate in Hamp­shire, a re­port has found.

With only 934 fol­low­ers on the so­cial net­work­ing web­site, this works out at just one fol­lower per 99 peo­ple in Hart.

The find­ings by the News & Maill looked at the Twit­ter ac­counts of lo­cal au­thor­i­ties in Sur­rey and Hamp­shire to find two things – how many fol­low­ers they have and what their “fol­lower rate” was based on their pop­u­la­tion.

In Sur­rey, Guild­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil has the high­est num­ber of fol­low­ers at 5,868, with them keep­ing up dated on news, in­for­ma­tion and ad­vice. It has one fol­lower per 24 peo­ple in Guild­ford.

Hart launched its Twit­ter feed @HartCoun­cil 14 months ago but Coun­cil­lor James Radley, cabi­net mem­ber for cor­po­rate and cus­tomer ser­vices, said he had seen a steady in­crease in the num­ber of fol­low­ers and the level of in­ter­ac­tion since then. “We felt it im­por­tant to in­tro­duce so­cial me­dia chan­nels, such as Twit­ter, Face­book, YouTube and LinkedIn, in the work that we do here at Hart District Coun­cil to em­brace the dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nels that our res­i­dents and busi­nesses are ac­tively us­ing,” he said.

“For a lo­cal au­thor­ity the use of so­cial me­dia as a com­mu­ni­ca­tion tool is rightly used, how­ever it should not sur­pass, or be at the ex­pense of, other forms of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.”

Twit­ter al­lows coun­cils to quickly in­form res­i­dents about the lat­est news, in­for­ma­tion and ser­vice up­dates. It en­gages res­i­dents in con­ver­sa­tion and refers them back to the coun­cil’s web­site for more de­tails.

But it also al­lows com­plainants to pub­licly ex­press their views of the coun­cil’s ser­vices in front of large au­di­ences.

With a sim­i­lar pop­u­la­tion to Hart, Rush­moor has dou­ble the num­ber of fol­low­ers at 1,866.

Rush­moor Bor­ough Coun­cil started us­ing Twit­ter in 2012 fol­low­ing the launch of its new web­site.

A spokesman for Rush­moor said: “We wanted to pro­mote our web­site and on­line ser­vices so that our cus­tomers know what ser­vices we of­fer and how they can ac­cess them at a time that suits them and Twit­ter is a use­ful way to do this.

“We were also aware that res­i­dents wanted to con­tact us via Twit­ter with their queries and com­ments and we felt we should re­spond to that de­mand.

“Twit­ter also of­fered an op­por­tu­nity to pro­mote the area and lo­cal events to a wider au­di­ence.

“We have found it par­tic­u­larly use­ful to help us get out ur­gent and im­por­tant mes­sages to the pub­lic, for ex­am­ple, dur­ing bad weather and when we had to post­pone the fire­works spec­tac­u­lar in Alder­shot last year.”

Across the border in Sur­rey, Waver­ley Bor­ough Coun­cil has 2,576 fol­low­ers, which works out as at one fol­lower per 48 peo­ple in Waver­ley.

For Sur­rey Heath Bor­ough Coun­cil, the ra­tio is slightly – one fol­lower per 30 peo­ple – and 2,929 fol­low­ers.

A spokesman for Sur­rey Heath said: “Twit­ter is a great way to share in­for­ma­tion with res­i­dents, lo­cal busi- nesses and the wider pub­lic.

“It en­ables our fol­low­ers to see ex­cit­ing snip­pets on what’s hap­pen­ing in Sur­rey Heath, in­clud­ing events, coun­cil news and up-to-the minute in­for­ma­tion about the lo­cal area.

“We would love for even more res­i­dents to fol­low us @sur­rey­heath.

“As well as Twit­ter, we use a range of other so­cial me­dia such as Face­book and YouTube.”

The data is cor­rect as of 11am on Mon­day.

Hart District Coun­cil’s Twit­ter ac­count shows it is fol­low­ing 102 peo­ple and has 939 fol­low­ers.

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