“It’s OK to refuse unsafe work and to ask about workplace safety.”
“If you don’t know – ask! There are no dumb questions. Learn about your safety rights & obligations.”
The Ontario Ministry of Labour posted these and other messages – known on Twitter as “tweets” – every Monday this summer.
The Ministry posts as @OntMinLabour on Twitter and they have a healthy following of nearly 5400 people. In comparison, @speakinofsafety is coming up on 2000 followers (so follow me if you aren’t already!)
I asked Bruce Skeaff, social media planner for the Ontario MOL’s Communications and Marketing Branch, to tell me more about this outreach effort.
“I chose young workers for that time period for a natural reason – so many young people holding summer jobs,” Bruce said, via email, adding that the MOL doesn’t have a big following among school or university-aged Ontarians.
“But we do have an audience of people involved with those summer students, from parents to employers to unions, HR professionals, health and safety officers in workplaces, and so forth. The feature was useful to them personally and as items to perhaps pass along to young people in their lives.”
How often should you tweet?
That’s one of the first questions most people ask. MOL tweets at least four to seven times a day Monday to Friday, as far as I can tell. They also respond to people with questions about government services and legislation, directing them to answers. This is a really good example of government using technology to listen to people, collaborate, and generate solutions.
“If you are going to be using social networking sites, then you need to be active, and on a regular basis, not occasionally,” Bruce said. “If you tweet or post on Facebook only every several days with gaps of silence in between, you’re not going to build an audience. People will find little value in following you. We work on our Twitter and Facebook sites under that premise, making sure we’re active – and usefully active, not just active for the sake of creating noise.”
Bruce said the Young Worker Monday messages were usually “re-tweeted” – or forwarded – at least a dozen times, which is pretty decent.
Another good example of government using Twitter is the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure – @TranBC on Twitter. I wrote about them in my post Asking road users what they need re: their online survey on where drivers want to see the next highwaycam.