Aberdeenshire Council to join in Twitter 24 for second year

Aberdeenshire Council is joining forces with local authorities across Scotland for the second time to encourage local residents to engage with them via social media.

Twitter 24 is a national social media event which last year saw 28 Scottish councils tweeting around the clock in a bid to give residents an insight into a day in the life of a local authority.

The initiative aims to raise awareness about the breadth and complexity of services offered by councils, while allowing residents to engage directly with council officers.

Employees from across Aberdeenshire Council will take a few seconds out to tweet about their services from the frontline or tweet useful information for residents, allowing the council's Twitter followers a unique view of the daily scope of activities.

This year's event will take place from noon on Tuesday, September 18, until noon the following day and residents are being encouraged to join in the debate by using the hashtags #mycouncil #aberdeenshire.

A hashtag is a special character that Twitter uses to collect, spread and organise discussions on various topics.

The council has over 5,000 followers on its main Twitter feed, @aberdeenshire, almost double the number it had at this point last year.

Twitter is a micro-blogging social network where users can post tweets of up to 140 characters. These often contain links to other content such as website pages and photographs.

People who do not already have a Twitter account can find out more about it and sign up for free at www.twitter.com/about

Leader of Aberdeenshire Council Councillor Jim Gifford said: 'We are always looking for ways to engage with our residents, to let them know about our services and also to find out what they think about local issues.

"The huge growth of our Twitter following in the past year is evidence that more and more of our residents are choosing to engage with us via social media – it is clearly a very important tool to develop and awareness raising events such as Twitter 24 is a great way to do this."

Deputy Leader Councillor Martin Kitts-Hayes said: "Communication in modern society has got faster and faster. It is essential that we as a council keep pace with that and ensure that residents have direct access to as much information as possible about council services.

"Twitter 24 is the ideal opportunity to give residents an insight into the sheer range of activities council employees are engaged in on a day to day basis and also to acknowledge all the hard work and good practice by staff that can often go unnoticed."

Independents' Co-ordinator Councillor Norman Smith added: "I hope lots of our customers will join in by tweeting with the #mycouncil hashtag when they speak to council staff or use one of our services during the 24 hour period between September 18 and 19."

Chief Executive of Aberdeenshire Council, Colin Mackenzie, said: "It is easy for residents to forget about the council services they may not directly use or require.

"However, Aberdeenshire spans a distance of 2,437 square miles, which makes up 8 per cent of Scotland, and the council provides a whole range of services every single day of the year to almost a quarter of a million people.

"I hope as many people as possible take the opportunity to join in with Twitter 24, as in addition to providing information and an insight into the council, it is also about stimulating debate and promoting a dialogue between elected members, officers and residents."

This is the second year that Twitter 24 has taken place and participating local authorities hope to build on the success of last year's campaign.

This year, 31 local authorities have so far confirmed they will take part.