Can councils make the most of online feedback without being overwhelmed?

[caption id="attachment_977" align="alignright" width="250"] “Real insight is achieved when knowledge is gleaned from many information sets”[/caption]

Edward Moore, chief executive of Symfonix, a company that helps the public sector monitor opinion, has written about the importance of local councils using social media to keep a finger on the pulse of the opinion of its residents in order to deliver better services, but explains that if not done systematically councils could end up swamped with useless information.

According to him, “real insight into your community is achieved only when knowledge is gleaned from many information sets, by understanding the strengths and limitations of those sources, and then finally by combining this knowledge.”

Moore believes councils can use new technology that collate and analyse tweets, comments, emails etc along with the council’s own data. To this end, his firm is working on a projected called Listening to London with the Greater London Authority that does just that.

The time and tools to do this may seem expensive as local government faces an unprecedented austerity drive, but the cost of not engaging with your citizens will be far higher,” he concludes.

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