Campaigners to tweet from council meetings

DEMOCRACY campaigners are expected to descend on a meeting of Clevedon Town Council tonight (Wed) to tweet what happens during proceedings.

This follows the authority’s decision in August to prevent its members from writing messages on the social networking site, Twitter, for the duration of meetings.

Cllr Jane Geldart had previously tweeted updates about subjects being debated in a committee meeting but some of her colleagues raised concerns it would distract her from discussions and that some messages could be misinterpreted by her followers.

In the hope of now highlighting how social media can be a positive tool for councils, The Bristol Democracy Project has, for the past week, been looking for volunteers to attend Clevedon Town Council meetings and write tweets about what happens.

This follows the creation of a new law last month requiring local authorities to provide reasonable facilities for the public to report the proceedings of council meetings as they happen.

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Gaz Smith of The Bristol Democracy Project, which aims to encourage more people to vote during elections, said: “A council banning its members from tweeting during meetings is really disappointing. Everyone from MPs to councillors in Bristol can tweet from their debates and meetings, so why should Clevedon be any different?

“Councillors may be banned from tweeting, but councils now have a legal duty to provide facilities for the public to tweet and blog from their meetings.

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“By encouraging people to turn up to future town council meetings and tweet about what is going on, we hope to show Clevedon’s councillors that embracing social media could be a great way of getting more people in touch with their work.”

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