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The Defunct Jobcentre Plus Mirror on Twitter

An investigation of Twitter, the micro-Blogging site was undertaken and a series of pilots put together for individual and groups of Jobcentre Plus offices. These pilots offered automatic updates of jobs more-or-less as they are seen by the now closed Jobcentre Plus Mirror. The pilots were largely for Cumbria, and because they are automated, a special account was set-up for feedback and other human interaction. The work was subject to a Technical Note, TN-2012-01-01: "Timely Notification using Micro-Blogging". While useful, it did not attract a large number of users and was thus largely considered unsuccessful.

The Jobcentre Plus Mirror has now been completely replaced by a pure-demonstration Jobcentre Plus Examplar and these Twitter experiments abandoned. One account (@JCPM_Feedback) has been left for continued debate.

Automated Twitter Feeds

The Twitter experiments were organised into a number of loosely-themed Pilots and were broadly divided into three groups, the Cumbrian, the Heavy and the Specialist. The pilots aim was to automatically post job vacancies, 'tweeting' is the term employed, within certain criteria in accounts specially dedicated to that task. The accounts were associated with certain UK Jobcentre Offices and the tweets appeared in a timely and prompt manner. It was all very unofficial.

[Picture: Tweety movie poster]
Tweeting and twittering

With the withdrawal of the Jobcentre Plus Mirror, we're not allowed to scrape the relevant Government site anymore, and thus there's no feed of vacancies to provide these Tweets. It was therefore decided to closed all but one of these accounts, they were:

Finally there was one specialised 'National' account associated with a single vacancy type, using one particular Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Code, @JCPM_National.

Almost all the accounts have now been either suspended or closed. One of them, however, @JCPM_WCumbria, is live but inactive, so that you can see what it all looked like in its pomp.

In some cases the accounts were suspended by Twitter, unilaterally and without explanation. We never did find out why.

While these Twitter accounts where automated, one was specifically setup for feedback and other human interaction (@JCPM_Feedback). Since the closure of the Jobcentre Plus Mirror this has become part of a wider forum debating Open Data and Government Computing. This account is monitored by the author personally, but it is suggested, though, that the occasional old-fashioned e-mail wouldn't go amiss.

Third-Party Twitter Support

There are now a number of Twittering Jobcentre Plus offices. They appeared to be a grass-roots effort, with little apparent guidance from any central authority. There's therefore an endearing amateur quality to some of them, but, nevertheless, they do recognise and try to fulfil Social Network need. Twitter isn't just about organising riots. It is this same need that we'd tried to address with the Twitter Pilots, and no end of experts seem to have recognised and written about it. In the absence of anything more formal, the Twittering Jobcentres are therefore the "Code and Consensus" that are required to make these things work. Approving of this, help and support was given where it could. The help was largely in the form of a now redundant Redirection Service and a now increasing out-of-date catalogue of Twittering Offices.


As with the rest of the JCP Mirror works, the responsibility for the content of the automated Twitter messages, abbreviated though they are, rests with Jobcentre Plus.


Feedback is actively solicited and the author would be happy to receive e-mail on this. Should something require changing or enhancing then the fact will be acknowledged with attribution, if requested, here.

The Mirror is Now The Exampler
The now-defunct Jobcentre Mirror has been extensively reworked to allow the technology to be demonstrated on old out-of-date data. Sadly the lack of a data-stream means that the remaining Twitter Pilots will be closed and this document has been changed to reflect this. 2013-01-05



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