This month:

  • The top 20 UK councils for new online buzz
  • Spotlights stories:
    • City of London Corporation: The protest outside St Paul’s
    • Northampton Borough Council: Nightclub tragedy and resignation of council Leader
    • Hastings Borough Council: Row over BNP speech in village hall
    • Buzz and Media Mix – News v Blogs v Twitter etc

 

The Top 20

This month we have made some changes to the Top 20. Rather than focussing on sentiment, we are going to be looking at the councils that have seen the biggest increases in the volume of online buzz they are attracting. The biggest movers (subject to them attaining a minimum number of references during the month – Districts = 100 mentions, Counties and Unitaries = 300) for this month are:

Spotlight stories

Now let’s take a look at the top three stories behind the buzz…

City of London Corporation: The protest outside St Paul’s

 

Graph showing City of London Corporation social media mentions during October, peaking on 28th October with the announcement of legal action to evict protestors

On the 15th October, 3,000 people protesting against economic inequality and corporate greed gathered in the square outside the London Stock Exchange, near St Paul’s Cathedral, with the aim of occupying it. Police prevented that from happening.

The Occupy London Stock Exchange (OLSX) protesters then turned to St Paul’s Churchyard, the square in front of the cathedral, planning to set up camp. By the third day, more than 100 tents were set up.

On the 28th October, St Paul’s Cathedral and the City of London Corporation decided to take legal action to evict the protesters, and it was this decision that led to a frenzy of activity on social media networks, and Twitter in particular.

Many were supportive of the action…                       … while others were siding with the protestors

It was good to see that the City of London Corporation actively engaged in the dialogue by replying to individual Tweets in an attempt to correct misinformation and misunderstanding, and to direct users to official statements.

Northampton Borough Council: Nightclub tragedy and resignation of council Leader

Two separate stories Bought Northampton Borough Council into the social media spotlight this month. The first was the tragic events in a city centre nightclub on the 19th October, in which two people died and which have led Northampton Borough Council to temporarily suspend the nightclub’s licence while an investigation takes place.

The second was the surprise resignation of Leader David Palethorpe just a week later – made all the more dramatic by the fact that it was announced via Twitter.

His announcement was quickly retweeted by BBC Northampton, and followed by a Tweet from the Labour camp…

Npton_Labour Cllr Mason [Labour leader Councillor Lee Mason] shocked at resignation saying the Tories are clearly divided and fighting each other like rats in a sack.

A couple of days later, Nprton_Labour made the following observation:

Npton_Labour Seriously I’m finding the use of twitter amongst Npton political establishment has surged in the last few days.

Hardly surprising, when it has become the communication channel of choice for political breaking news!

Hastings Borough Council: Row over BNP speech in village hall

Hastings Borough Council attracted media attention in October when it threatened to cancel a village hall’s rate subsidy if hosted a speech by BNP leader Nick Griffin. Hastings Borough Council said it was “contrary to the interests of the community” and councillors voted to withdraw the hall’s rate relief. The Leader of the labour-run council, Jeremy Birch, said: “I can’t agree that Hastings people should be subsidising a charity that’s prepared to provide a platform to someone who is so completely opposed to the community harmony philosophy of this local authority.”

The BNP responded by accusing the authority of blocking free speech, and this view was echoed by many in social media networks. The meeting was subsequently moved elsewhere.

 

BNP supporters leapt on the story, accusing Hastings Borough Council of obstructing free speech

Buzz and Media Mix

Next, this month’s total references to ‘Councils’ online is:

Looking back over the past 12 months, it is interesting to note that the overall volume of buzz is now relatively flat month-on-month, indicating that social media usage has reached a plateau, for now at least. This month, a new study by the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth found that for first time in the past 4 years there is virtually no change in Fortune 500 companies adopting Facebook, Twitter or Blogging.

Could this be a reflection that most of us have each reached our own personal plateau, and we have each come as far with social media as we are likely to come until the “next big thing”?

This plateau is reflected in all of the different sources.


Notes

PublicServiceMonitor images and chart data may be used provided PublicServiceMonitor is credited accordingly.

For a more comprehensive service description please look at www.publicservicemonitor.com/about

Monthly Buzz Index methodology – Details can be found here

About PublicServiceMonitor – PublicServiceMonitor trawls the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week, searching through news, blogs, forums and social media sites. It reads through all of this information and summarises what’s being said about UK councils, and can even tell you whether the sentiment is positive or negative (similar to the election worm we have seen at #leadersdebate). The service was launched in December 2009 so is still quite early on, but by measuring a benchmark group of councils on a consistent basis we hope to be able to provide some national trend information relating to what people are saying about their councils – and how they choose to say it.

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