The subject could be anything……… queues at polling stations, school cyber bullying, or someone trying to organise an illegal rave. It could even be the Prime Minister asking the public on Facebook what they think about cuts and where they should be made.
The fact of the matter is that any news, event debate or discussion worth having is now happening online – on a social network near you.
However it wasn’t until we started to develop a product to measure it last year, that we realised the extent that the UK public has embraced tools like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr on a massive scale and now often uses them as a preferred means of communicating.
One of the things we measure on a monthly basis is the total number of references to all 400+ UK councils – measuring by the various combinations, permutations or abbreviations of their name. As most local and national news sources publish online it is possible to build a picture of all references – through traditional press to the ‘social networks’.
The graph above shows which sources of media were referencing UK councils, and by how much earlier this year.
The key observation is that social media far outweighs traditional news sources – and that Twitter (the blue line at the top) in particular eclipsed news in both April and May this year.
The message – ignore social media at your peril. It says more about you than you think.
Nic Streatfeild is director of rol Solutions Ltd – providers of CouncilMonitor and GovMetric.