Her Klout score had gone up.
Yes , the leader of one of the most digitally connected nations on the planet , saw fit to announce that her score had risen from 65 to 82 – reflecting the “effective and positive” role of Government in efforts to connect with the public.
Surely a leader making a fuss about their social influence scores and the rise in number of Twitter followers and Facebook fans should be concentrating on more important things?
I’m not so sure. I think engagement through social media IS important for the modern leader. As is an understanding of online influence.
She seems like fun too. I can’t understand her tweets but certainly the images accompanying her feed look more interesting than those of David Cameron. Check this out:
And it’s not just South Korea where you get sociable leaders. Last week I was having a twitter chat when who should wander into the conversation but Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi. He popped in to thank me for my comments about his active twitter presence.
Just reflect on that statistic for one minute. 96% of his tweets are replies to the public. That is an incredible level of responsiveness and engagement that puts not just elected representatives to shame but also many organisations and brands.
So what’s the point of this post?
Well , the other day I was talking with a friend and we both realised we weren’t sure of the names of our local Councillors. We both follow quite a few highly sociable Councillors from all over the UK – but when it came to where we actually live we didn’t have a clue. Our fault or theirs?
We did a check on the online presence of a sample. We googled and checked up on 46 people and these were the results:
- 6 had Twitter accounts (13%)
- 2 had Facebook profiles (3%)
- 1 was on LinkedIn
- 2 had blogs – but hadn’t yet posted anything on them.
Catherine Howe has written about how the digital and networked society will need more digital and networked councillors. In a great piece she argues “transforming local democracy is going to take more than simply getting politicians to use Twitter.” I agree completely.
Really this isn’t about social media. It’s not even about the lack of political engagement. It’s about what appears to be a digital fault line between local leaders and the communities they represent.
Community leaders have to embrace this new way of participation – placing themselves at the heart of networks and reaching out to collaborate and even co-produce new services.
Online presence is just the start – a minimum requirement. Establishing a relationship that values more than consultation and the occasional vote is the true challenge.
It’s time for the UK to up its game.