Social media an important government channel

Social Media for Govt Summit

Social media is now a major channel through which Australia’s government sector disseminates information. It is also increasingly important in other ways – as a way of measuring community reaction to government initiatives, for example.

The ninth annual Social Media for Government Summit in Melbourne has heard from dozens of government speakers about how social media is being used to transform the way their organisations relate with their stakeholders.

The Summit attracted 140 attendees from local, state and federal governments from every state. They were addressed by a wide range of speakers, including representatives from:

  • Service NSW
  • QUT
  • Queensland Health
  • SBS
  • Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Organisation
  • City of Melbourne
  • Ambulance Victoria
  • South Australia Tourism Commission
  • Bureau of Meteorology
  • WorkSafe Victori
  • South Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet
  • Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Victoria Police
  • Macquarie University
  • Department of Human Services
  • Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

The Summit was designed to help government agencies better engage with the public on social media, by improving their capabilities in such areas as the management of social media crisis situations; how to use video content; and how to benchmark, analyse and evaluate social media impact.

The event was sponsored by social media archiving service Brolly and social media monitoring and analytics company Meltwater. It was held at the Novotel on Collins in Melbourne on 25-27 October.

“We live in a changing world where people are consuming information and engaging with organisations differently – increasingly on social media,” said Nathan Cram, Brolly’s founder and CEO. “This requires governments to upskill in their social media capabilities and archiving and compliance.

Brolly is Australia’s first social media archiving service. It was developed by IT specialist Nathan Cram, after he relied on Victorian Country Fire Authority Twitter warnings to escape the 2014 Wye River Christmas bushfires.

“This made me realise how important it is for government agencies to track their online interactions, to protect themselves, and to protect citizens,” he said.

“Social media is now the fastest, easiest way to connect with the public. Once information is shared it has the potential to reach an enormous number of people. I started thinking, how are we capturing these public engagements? How are agencies managing this? I was concerned about the lack of local social media record management tools and saw the opportunity to create one.”

The conference was also addressed by senior executives from the Australian offices of social media companies Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Roy Tan, Public Policy Outreach for Facebook, said that 15 million people in Australia access Facebook every month, with 12 million of these, around 80 percent of active user, return to the site every day.

He said the widespread use of smartphones is fuelling the growth of social media, and in particular video viewing.

“Over14 million Australians access Facebook monthly on a mobile,” he said. “Mobile use demands new ways of communication because content is consumed very quickly, with an average of just 1.7 seconds spent on each item of content).

“But much more time is spent on mobile apps than on browsers – as much as ten times more.”

The next two Social Media for Government Summits will be held on 17-19 April 2018 in Canberra, and 23-25 October 2018 in Melbourne.

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