Councillors should be taught how to use social media to engage with citizens

“Simply getting councillors to use Twitter is not going to be enough”

Catherine Howe is chief executive of Public-i, a provider of net services for local council modernisation, such as webcasting of council meetings and online voting, which also runs the Networked Councillor project.

She recently wrote an article for The Guardian where she says that councillors must learn how to use social media to engage with citizens: “Simply getting councillors to use Twitter is not going to be enough,” she says, adding that “a more digital and networked society will need more digital and networked councillors.”

According to Howe, local councillors who use social media are in a minority and more need to be mentored not only to learn the technical aspect of it but also how to change their workflow in order to address the volumes of interactions that they anticipated through these new channels.”

“Networked technologies offer politicians and policymakers opportunities to operate in more open and agile ways that have not yet been fully explored. To reimagine that democratic relationship without taking networked technologies into account seems naive given their widespread take up,” concludes Howe.

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