Did you all have a nice Christmas?

I did. Bridesmaid for my friend on the 22nd and then the joy of my nearly-three-year-old bouncing off the walls with seasonal excitment. I had the whole of Christmas week off for these two landmark events. I didn’t think about the corporate twitter account at all.

But Boxing Day is pretty boring isn’t it? So I nipped on to see what had happened during my week off. And what had happened was that at least one person found it wholly unacceptable that there had been no corporate tweets during Christmas week.

I do agree. If we used RSS for our news / events etc there would have been one tweet. Or if we used something like Hootsuite I might have scheduled a couple of things in. However, we do it all manually here because we like the human touch. That did work against us last week though.

The question of whether we were the exception or the rule  roused my interest though. Who else had been tweeting to their corporate Twitter charge over Christmas? Well, Dan Slee at Walsall Council had for one. This account’s Christmas service was highlighted to me by several others on Twitter (thanks guys) and he had indeed been doing a sterling job.

Excellent tweeting had been done each time their gritters headed out. I wish I’d been as organised as Dan in getting the highways team to email me each time ours went out (something which has gone straight on the to do list this morning on my return to the office).

There were a few others councils also standing by to reply to @ messages – Hillingdon, Northampton and Richmond (BC, Canada rather than North Yorkshire).

Maybe there were more but this was the extent of the response I got. Whether or not more of us should / could have been tweeting more leads to an interesting question though: who is required to offer a Christmas social media / online service and how many of us did it out of our own goodwill?

Perhaps it depends on who looks after your Twitter. A press officer who is on call (and contracted to be so)? If I tweeted (and I did on Boxing Day just because there was something to say) it was because I felt, in myself, that it was the right thing to do and I was willing to log on and do it.

I’m not contracted to work out of hours or be on call. But online doesn’t recognise office hours, Bank Holidays. It is a non-stop real-time channel and so (in my opinion) organisations should be ready and able to respond as such. It’s a significant shift in thinking and ways of working, particularly for public sector.

It was interesting to look over the state of play though. It’s given me a few ideas for what I’d do differently given the time over as well as things I’ll be trying to implement to further improve the service as soon as possible.

I’d love to know whether anyone had any feedback from citizens / residents / followers on the service given? Or any thoughts generally on what the round-the-clock online space means or could mean for working patterns in council PR / online comms.