Hundreds tune in for Kirklees Council webcasts
Dec 29 2010 by Barry Gibson, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
Kirklees Council is embracing the future by webcasting meetings. Local government reporter BARRY GIBSON finds out if anyone is watching
COUNCIL meetings usually begin with a warning from the chairman that everyone in the room must turn off their mobiles to stop an annoying ring tone from interrupting the democratic process.
But the last few monthly meetings of Kirklees have seen senior politicians furiously texting away – as part of the democratic process.
Leading councillors have texted their running commentary to micro-blogging website Twitter as the meeting progressed.
And people watching the meeting live on their computers also joined in with their thoughts on proceedings.
Clr Andrew Cooper, who leads the Greens on Kirklees, is a big fan of Twitter and was sending live updates from council meetings long before it became official policy.
The Newsome man said: “I’ve been reporting on the meetings through Twitter. You can see what councillors are thinking – it’s a commentary on the meeting.
“A lot of young people use Twitter to get information. If we want to engage with them we have to use some of the media they use.”
Kirklees figures show that seven people took part in the first live Twitter coverage of a council meeting on October 20, sending 80 messages, known as tweets.
But the following meeting on December 8 attracted 27 people, who sent 200 tweets.
The meetings have also been webcast live on the council’s website.
Some 993 watched the debut transmission on May 26, with 710 people watching later.
The June 23 meeting attracted 195 viewers, with 731 watching the archive footage.