Andy Sawford, Chief Executive of the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU), has penned a brief account of his conversion from Twitter-sceptic to Twitter-fan.
When I first started tweeting I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. At best it seemed a rather pointless exercise, at worst terribly self indulgent: who could possibly be interested in knowing what I was doing and thinking moment by moment? In fact it’s turned out to be one of the most useful tools in my working life.
Having reached a critical mass of followers within the local government community, I’m now able to use Twitter for instant consultation and feedback, when I’m chairing a conference, writing an article or meeting a minister, I’ve even used it to ask people what they think as I’ve been on the way to the TV studio to comment on local government issues.
There are three characteristics of the feedback I get that I find particularly interesting:
- Because replying is easy, it’s virtually instant and has an impressive rate of return compared to traditional consultation methods.
- It’s a dialogue: I reply to the people who reply to me and ideas spark off each other.
- It’s non hierarchical: I treat all replies on the basis of their content not on who they’re from — indeed I often don’t really know who they’re from.
(Source: Local Government 3.0: How councils can respond to the new web agenda)
Andy Sawford is on Twitter as @andysawford.
UPDATE: That Twitter account is no more though he has kept on Twitter in his subsequent career, including time as a Labour MP, with a new account.