Social Sites Blocked in Glasgow but City Council Uses Twitter!

Christine Rooney-Browne,  a PhD student based at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, wrote back in March about her experience at  The Mitchell Library in Glasgow “soaking up the atmosphere from the latest Aye Write Book Festival:”

I had thought it might be a good idea to tweet about the events I attended but when I tried to access Twitter on The Mitchell Library’s public access computers I was informed that Twitter was considered to be an ‘unacceptable website’. Surely not, I thought, so I tried again, on a different computer.  Same message again.   Made me wonder about what else would be blocked.  Attempted to login toFacebook and although the ‘unacceptable website’ message did not pop  up, a strange login screen did and when I attempted to type in my user name and password I realised that nothing was appearing on the screen. Seemed to be locked out of that one as well.  Tried MySpace, same thing! Okay, they’re blocking social networking websites I thought….but then something happened that made no sense whatsoever.  I was able to login to Bebo no problem.   I also tried to access Flickrand YouTube but they were inaccessible too.  Stranger still was what I found out later.   Glasgow City Council had been using Twitter to help promote the Aye Write festival, and there were buttons on the Aye Write website encouraging users to visit their profile on both Facebook and MySpace…  

Read the comments – it gets very interesting – including an exchange with the head of Marketing and Public Relations at Glasgow City Council. Christine wonders why Twitter is blocked when the GCC is using it for promotion:

Colin Edgar replies:

We’re having a look at that just now.

You’re throwing up another interesting question for Local Government: Do you get back to the customer with what information you have, thus ensuring that you give a quick, although not full, response? Or do you wait ’till you have all the facts before getting back, thus ensuring a full, but slower, response?

You’ll see I tend towards the former.

One other thing: we have a customer contact system which logs enquiries, complaints etc, and the responses and response times. I don’t know whether we’ve ever logged the message trail following a blog posting in this system, so this could be a, small but significant, first.

Best – C

This really speaks to the next barrier libraries are running up against with social networking: governing bodies above the library. These are the folks we need to be talking to – library folk are doing pretty darn well these days. I’m intrigued to hear what’s happened since this post. Are the sites unblocked?