Taxpayer-funded tweeter sought

KEITH LYNCH
Last updated 13:41 26/10/2011

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@social media experts, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) wants a professional tweeter.

The body in charge of earthquake recovery in Christchurch is looking for an online and social media advisor.

The most popular forms of social media are Facebook and Twitter.

The successful applicant will be ''responsible for the implementation and day-to-day management of CERA's social media presence and updating content on Cera's website and intranet'', an online advertisement for the job says.

Labour MP Brendon Burns said Cera was not providing enough information at present and asked if a social media expert would help.

''What extra information are Cera going to be providing, given at the moment it's sometimes not able to perform in any form the sorts of information people are desperate for, like the status of their lands and when any announcements might be coming on the zoning of the land.''

Government tweeters

Last year a Fairfax study revealed public servants spent nearly 8500 hours a year on Twitter, the equivalent of a year's work for four full-time staff.

It was not known how much Twitter browsing was for legitimate work, including maintaining official Twitter accounts operated by five government agencies.

In the year to April, 14 government staff were disciplined for excessive or inappropriate internet use. One police staff member and one Education Ministry staffer resigned while under investigation.

The Social Development, Maori Affairs, Justice, Corrections, Fisheries and Defence ministries all block Twitter access for staff who do not need it for work.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) staffer Sam O'Leary is the face behind the department's Twitter spokesbird, modelled on Sirocco the randy kakapo. He has his own webiste and tweets four to five times a day range.

One tweet, suggesting works by SAVE (Society of Avian Vocal Entertainers, also known as the dawn chorus) as an alternative national anthem was linked to a bird call symphony. It attracted so much feedback from homesick expatriates wanting to use it as a ring tone that O'Leary had to add downloadable tracks.

DOC is one of five Government departments that have set up official Twitter accounts to promote their message. The Ministry of Health set up an account to provide swine-flu updates.

The Ministry of Economic Development has four Twitter monikers, which take one staff member and $2000 a year to maintain.

Both Creative New Zealand and Corrections investigated setting up Twitter accounts, but concluded it would take too much staff time.

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- The Press

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