Twitter can lift the lid of what an organisation does. But how about a sector? Last year local government in the UK used a hashtag #ourday to give an insight into what they did. This year, they're at it again from library events and drain inspections to stray dogs and school dinners. Can you help?
Cllr David Harrington tweeted me late one night back in July: ‘How about it @LadyLeoLion?’ Turned out he was concocting ideas to celebrate local government and needed some collaborators.
One thing led to another and #OurDay 2013 was booked in for 17 October.
So, where did it all start? One day amidst the backdrop of those uplifting moments of the London 2012 Olympics, I sat down with the team at the LGA for a brainstorm. We wanted to do something for Social Media Week but not the usual ‘how to’ social media.
Now we’d heard of some interesting and successful tweetathons - #Walsall24 and #whatwedo to name a few. They’d successfully raised awareness of councils and communities in their local areas. This sounded like something we could work with.
We struck on an idea - not rocket science, not original but nonetheless a lightbulb moment for us. Why not amplify this on a national scale, telling the stories of all those unsung localgov heroes? #OurDay was born.
To cut a long story short, on 27 September 2012, from dawn till dusk, twitter came alive with marvellous stories from every corner of the land. Councils at all levels took part - chief executives, elected members, comms teams and, most importantly, frontline staff – snapping pictures, shooting films and tweeting all sorts of inspiring things.
In total they generated over 10,000 tweets from 4,000 accounts with a reach of 750,000 people.
So, what about this year? It was pretty obvious #OurDay 2012 was not simply about using social media. It was about being part of a local community; fully engaged in what it does, what it stands for and how it runs. Local Democracy Week therefore seemed a natural partner and a chance to prompt fellow local government colleagues across Europe to get involved too.
To date, over 150 councils and organisations have signed up for #OurDay 2013 and @KnowledgeHub we’ve been following you and retweeting your plans for the day.
And, it’s not too late to get involved! All you need is a twitter account, something to say and include #OurDay in your tweets. To find out more and get some ideas check out the dedicated Knowledge Hub group [https://knowledgehub.local.gov.uk/web/localgovernmentday/].
Big thanks to everyone for spreading the word, especially Sarah Marsh @Guardian_local, @comms2point0, @welovelocalgov, #localgovdigital crew…and Councillors @Baz_k and @cllrharrington (who started the ball rolling this year.)
So on 17 October, let’s not only tell the great story of local government, let’s celebrate being part it too.
Thanks from … @LadyLeoLion @LizCop @mik0ton @DimpleRathod @mick_rea
Sarah Jennings is head of digital communications and knowledge management at the Local Government Association.