By Kristy Gogolka, LGAQ social media and corporate communications officer
Face-to-face events, meet and greets and barre classes were all called off in a matter of hours during March. While local government has long been adept at managing disasters, COVID-19 presented a once-in-a-century challenge and an invisible danger that resulted in the closure of pools, libraries, and community events.
The world we once knew felt like it was over forever but, human kindness, generosity and ingenuity helped us overcome much of the fear and anxiety COVID-19 created. Queenslanders know how to help each other during tough times and that is what makes our state so special. This was no more evident than in the digital communications and campaigns Queensland councils brought to life over the last few months.
Sunshine Coast Council created the #CovidKindness Campaign.
Making the most of a bad situation and turning to live streaming, virtual events and transitioning to more online driven content for resources means no one is left out.
This campaign spoke about ways you can play your part in your community and help your neighbourhood. During a disasters, it is easy to forget about others and only focus on yourself. These messages were positive, supportive, and helped us think about each other. This campaign saw 201,383,000 impressions globally, 56,528 individual social media mentions (including Huffington Post and Virgin Media) and 55,816 individual social media posts. The campaign was also adopted globally; during the month of March, #Covidkindness recorded 201,000,000 impressions.
Sunshine Coast Council also set up the At Home in My Neighbourhood webpage, which focused on connecting people, neighbour to neighbour, street to street and community to community. This webpage has had more than 10,000 visits. Whitsunday Regional Council started to live stream library story time, baby bounce and library play. During the month of April, the council saw the videos reach 47,159 and had a total of 28,103 views.
These numbers truly speak to the tone of the world and why we needed to connect digitally. Bringing together a community, whether this be in person or virtually, is what local government does best.
The world before COVID-19 and after COVID-19 will be very different. Our new normal will take some time to get used to. The one thing we should never give up on is hope. Having hope during a disaster is what keeps us going. We saw so many councils jump at the opportunity to give their local community hope through digital home workouts, story time and through digital Friday work drinks with colleagues. In the midst of this global pandemic, councils can confidently say they truly stepped up, helped their community connect, provided them with essential tools online and importantly encouraged us to be kind to one another.
Making the most of a bad situation and turning to live streaming, virtual events and transitioning to more online driven content for resources means no one is left out. This shift is what makes for a good service to your local community. How we respond to a tragedy says a lot about who we are as people.