Testing the Twitter Boundaries

Written by: Karen Jeal

September 15, 2014 - 4:14 pm
Categories: Community , Digital , Engagement , Lambeth

Here at Lambeth Council we recently tried a couple of new ideas to try and get more people in our community talking with us on Twitter. Here’s how they went.

Our communities in Lambeth are diverse. So what better way to get to the heart of those different communities than to really speak their language and engage with them in a way they will understand?

So we thought we’d test the water with a bit of tweeting in another language. On 10 June it was National Portugal Day and because Lambeth has got a large Portuguese population we thought we’d use our Twitter feed that day to only send out things in Portuguese.

We lined up some tweets ready to push out and we also got to work telling people what we were doing that day. We got local councillors involved and before we knew it community groups and individuals were getting involved. Even staff were pleased with the innovative way of getting people throughout the community talking with us digitally.

Word of warning

If we had relied on Google Translate then some of what we were trying to say would have got seriously lost in translation. Google is good but it literally translates word for word so sentences don’t always make sense.

To be able to do this sort of thing effectively you really need someone with you who is fluent in the language. Luckily our friend Rive, who lives in Stockwell but is from Portugal stepped in to help. He helped us get translations accurate and was on hand all day to help answer anything and suggest ideas for things for us to tweet.

During the day we published 14 tweets and got a satisfying 34 retweets and 4 favourites just between about 9am to 5pm.

It was a learning curve for us, as it’s something we’ve never done before but now we know it had some worth we’re looking to do something similar again in the future.

One of the other things we tried recently was a Twitter takeover, but I’ll tell you about that another time.

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