For all the talk of digitising government, government agencies and departments are still very much bound by rules and regulations that mandate everything down to how they record every interaction they have on social media.
The Australian Archives Act 1983 specifies that government organisations are required to keep “accurate and sufficient” records of government business in a “useable and accessible form” so that agencies can “account for their actions under administrative law” – in other words, all this record keeping is crucial to ensuring transparency. With this piece of legislation not defining a record by its format, records created through social media fall into this category.
However, as any social media manager or PR knows, getting and keeping these records in any manageable format can be difficult, with many resorting to screenshots and hastily-organised Excel spreadsheets.
Founded by Melbourne company Ladoo, Brolly is a new tool designed to help government agencies capture all their social interactions. With Ladoo working with government clients to provide a range of web services, it was able to identify another untapped need and sought to address it.
Ladoo’s Carmen Angerer said, “We have an intimate understanding of the challenges these organisations face when using innovative technology and ensuring they are compliant.”
She explained, “The conversation about social media and record management is in the early stages in Australia and is a grey area for many agencies. We know that the majority of social media managers report and archive content on an ad-hoc basis, often in a non-responsive environment that is subject to human error.”
Brolly works by simply having users connect their accounts, after which the system captures all published social content and archives previous posts, allowing users to export their engagement in a format that allows for easy record keeping.
It allows for agencies to track conversations in real time and search past moments, including comments, media, and hyperlink capture, taking screenshots of links posted so agencies can capture content as it appeared to the public, no 404 error messages to be seen.
The idea for the platform came to Nathan Cram, founder of Brolly and managing director of Ladoo, after seeing the importance of social engagement through the emergency content posted by the CFA, SES, and Ambulance Victoria.
“Government channels are now sharing more information than ever before. During bushfire season we saw the CFA creating a huge amount of public service content. These posts could be pivotal in an individual’s decision about their safety or the safety of their property,” Cram said.
“Social media is now the fastest, easiest way to connect with the public. Once information is shared it has the potential to reach an enormous number of people. I started thinking, how are we capturing these public engagements? How are agencies managing this? I was concerned about the lack of local social media record management tools and saw the opportunity to create one.”
Ladoo worked closely with the Public Records Office of Victoria and the National Archives of Australia to ensure that Brolly was fully compliant and properly addressed their needs.
“Records and archiving is a specialist area and social media archiving is an emerging space in Australia. It’s been fascinating to learn what the solution needs to include for individual organisations, whilst collaborating with thought leaders and our early adopters,” Angerer said.
Angerer acknowledged the competitors in the market, with a variety of global social archiving tools such as GovQA already on the market, but said that the fact Brolly stores data locally, on NSW servers, is important for Australian organisations, whose data is sensitive and needs to be stored in Australia.
Brolly operates through a SaaS pricing model, tiered depending on how many records the agency needs to store on a monthly basis. Angerer said there are a number of early adopters already on board, with Ladoo’s existing government clients and connections surely coming in handy. It is already processing an average of 60,000 records per day and processed over 1.9 million records in its busiest 24 hours.
She said the company will look to refine key features over the next few months, and is in the process of scaling its team. Brolly will also be showcased at the National Archives of Australia in Canberra in August.
Image: the Ladoo team. Source: Supplied.