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THERE has been a small rash of stories over the past week or two about authorities turning increasingly to social media to keep the public up to date with their activities.

Seven of the eight Scottish police forces are now using Twitter on a daily basis while the majority of Scottish local authorities, Angus Council included, participated in a 24-hour tweeting session on Tuesday last week about activities in their different departments under the heading What We Do.

For Edinburgh City Council it backfired. Disgruntled residents set up their own conversation thread under the heading What We Don’t Do. The boot was very swiftly, as they say, put in. But Bolton Council has decided to use it to nanny its council tax payers.

The authority is about to spend more than £100,000 of DEFRA’s money sending congratulatory text messages, e-mails and “interesting recycling facts” to people who put their bins out on the right day. It claims this will encourage many people not currently recycling to do so; “patronising” and “preaching to the converted” say critics.

Sadly there are no plans for local councillors to pop round to people’s houses with a gold star and a pat on the head when a certain number of texts are received. Nor is there - so far - a “Recycler of the Year” award for a certain number of gold stars achieved. It’s probably just a matter of time.

Mercifully the scheme hasn’t been extended to the council’s public lavatories. Maybe there are some things the public can be trusted to do on their own.