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Dublin: 18 °C Tuesday 30 September, 2014

Taoiseach’s ‘day in the life’ video part of government’s growing social media presence

The government is increasingly delivering its message via new platforms with varying degrees of success.



YouTube: MerrionStreetNews

THIS WEEK A smart-looking video of a day in the life of Enda Kenny emerged on YouTube showing our Taoiseach being a very busy man indeed.

The ‘Taoiseach’s Diary’ for Wednesday, 30 October –  the day of the Dublin Web Summit and a Cabinet meeting among other things – is a smart, short hit of what it’s like to be Enda Kenny on a typical day and was produced in-house by the government’s official news service, MerrionStreet.ie.

The video is one of a number of interesting innovations being driven by the government press office in the last few months as it ups its social media presence.

Most notably, Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin recorded pre-Budget messages that were posted to YouTube and shorter versions to Instagram with the videos covered here and on other news outlets.

The proliferation of this content on mainstream media did not go unnoticed in government circles.

On Instagram several government ministers record short clips of what to expect from their individual budgets including Ruairí Quinn, Alan Shatter, Richard Bruton, Joan Burton and Pat Rabbitte:

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On Twitter, Brian Hayes did a Twitter Q&A on the Budget which went surprisingly well given the junior minister’s less than kind words about the site in an interview with TheJournal.ie last summer.

The Department of Finance also unleashed some snazzy infographics after the Budget announcement, while both Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform are making increasingly tweeting about what they’re up to.

Ministers themselves are taking to Twitter in increasing numbers. Some do it better than others.

Leo Varadkar has the right idea with a mix of random tweets, policy tweets and genuine engagement with users.

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Most important, the Minister seems to be doing the tweets himself. Others have automated feeds which are practically worthless when it comes to engaging people.

There are of course pitfalls for tweeting politicians and some ministerial handlers are known to be more wary than others about allowing their bosses to engage on these new platforms.

But the growing view is that if the content, invariably delivering a positive message, makes it to mainstream media as well as picking up some traction online then it’s a good thing.

As for the Taoiseach’s video diary, there won’t be one every day or every week. Their frequency will be determined by what Kenny is up to.

So in future, if the government has something to say, you can expect it to increasingly deliver the message through YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.

And, who knows, maybe Michael Noonan will be doing Vines and Snapchats soon enough.

Read: 8 things we learned from Brian Hayes’s Budget 2014 Q&A on Twitter

‘The Budget will not be easy’: Howlin and Noonan’s video preview of Budget 2014

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