MyCommunity is the first online community established and operated by the Human Services Portfolio. It was planned as a short-term pilot project which began on 20 July 2010 and concluded on 31 December 2010.
MyCommunity was created to encourage Centrelink customers to contribute their views on how we can make our communication and services for the Australian public better.
MyCommunity featured videos, discussion forums where customers could post questions, comments and respond to others, as well as surveys and polls to gather feedback and opinion. During the trial, 400 customers receiving family, disability and carer payments were recruited to participate using Centrelink’s secure Online Letters service. This target audience was chosen because of its manageable size for our first trial community, and early research and testing prior to the launch of MyCommunity indicated that these three customer groups would be receptive and active contributors. Furthermore, keeping the community small and viewable to members only made it easier for moderators to monitor the site and respond to customer comments quickly during this first trial.
Moderator guidelines for staff were established and used throughout the trial, and strong relationships were maintained with Centrelink Customer Relations and Business Teams to ensure customers received accurate responses online, and appropriate offline follow-ups when necessary.
In collaboration with
Human Services Portfolio
20 July 2010
31 December 2010
The MyCommunity project was managed by the Human Services Portfolio Communication Division. This experience gave the team an increased knowledge of running and moderating online communities, and creating and using blogs and forums, and having open discussions with customers online. Staff developed strong skills as administrators and moderators and also gained experience writing for an online audience, creating and refreshing engaging content and interacting with customers through forum discussions and blogs.
Project management support and platform hosting have been an important part of the MyCommunity trial, ensuring staff are supported in their roles as administrators and moderators. This support was provided by NWC Opinion Research (now ORC International), who also collected and analysed data from the polls and surveys we ran throughout the project.
In terms of resourcing, the services of at least one full time staff member was required for the duration of the trial. This has been not only because of the daily monitoring and updating of content, but also because of the time intensive nature of providing timely and tailored responses which are meaningful to customers and address their concerns.
The project succeeded in engaging customers with each other and with Centrelink employees in a social networking environment. Active discussions and information sharing helped to improve members’ perceptions of dealing with Centrelink. There were some members who shared only negative comments and information, but other community members contributed to encourage them to be more positive.
There has been some media coverage on MyCommunity, including Computerworld online.
Addition details or information
Working in conjunction with a U.S based company, Mzinga, MyCommunity was running on the OmniSocial platform. While a template was available for us to use, the design and branding of the community was created by Human Services. This ensured the consistency of Centrelink style and branding guidelines.
Video content was produced by the Human Services Portfolio Communication Division and hosted using Sorenson 360, the same online video delivery system that is used to post files to Human Services Portfolio websites.
Types: Gov 2.0.