Shropshire Council this week announced that they were going to start using WhatsApp as a way of communicating with residents.
A brilliantly simple idea that had me thinking – ah, why didn’t we think of that?
Shropshire say they’re going to trial the service for four weeks and see how it goes. What I love is that residents can not only contact ‘the council’ on WhatsApp, they can also contact particular portfolio holders on the council’s Cabinet.
At a time when local authorities need to be thinking very seriously about channel shift, we need to make it as easy as possible for residents to communicate with us. It’s why we started using Facebook, Twitter and all the other social platforms – to be where the people are.
With 17 million users worldwide, lots of them are on WhatsApp.
It’s also a way that people can easily send ‘private’ messages to the council, or to the elected members that represent them, quickly, easily, for free, and without having to broadcast their message to the world via a Facebook comment or Tweet, if that isn’t what you want to do.
Maybe we might even encourage more of the ‘silent majority’ to communicate with us this way?
So, well done Shropshire Council. I’m really excited to hear about how you get on. And I’m sure that, if it works for you, many other councils will be following your lead very soon…