@2011census ticks all the right boxes


Once every five years, Australians fill out a census form.

But this is the first time I’ve been able to have fun with the Census, thanks to its Twitter account @2011Census

I’m not the first person to write about this fantastic example of government use of Twitter, and I probably won’t be the last. But I’ve just got to reflect on what a refreshing account it’s been!

For an account that has only tweeted just over 120 times, it’s getting a lot of attention indeed. People have been captivated by its pithy posts, retweeting them and discussing the account in general. Its social media presence has been described as a “Census with attitude”.

So why has it been so successful? It’s because @2011census ticks all the right boxes (pun intended):

  • Sticks to its core objective, and tweets about Census information and reminders
  • Sticks to a brand and talks about Census facts
  • Brings the Census to life by sharing facts in a colourful way
  • Really knows Australians, sharing jokes that resonate with our culture
Census Tweet
Census Tweet
Census Tweet
Census tweet
Census tweet

The ABC’s @triplej has been part of a campaign to encourage Australia’s youth to take part in the Census and Triple J shared some Census tweets on air today. The station is also supporting the fun #censusmas movement (trending over Twitter in Australia today).

I’d been wondering (and tweeting) about who was behind @2011Census and this was posted:

Census Tweet

@census2011 is another Twitter account – I wonder if that was an apathetic attempt to begin a fake account, OR a move to protect the brand? (But if it was a move to protect the brand, you’d think it would cross-reference or promote the @2011census brand).

The Twittercounter graph below documents the steady rise in popularity of the @2011census account.

Twitter counter, @2011census growth
Twitter counter, @2011census growth

So, we need to wait until 2016 for the next round of Census fun? (And by the way, it looks like @2016census has not been claimed yet). Of course, we may not be using Twitter by then. Skynet may have taken over.

Or – fingers crossed – perhaps @2011census will kick on and share the results and insights it gains from this latest round of paperwork?

Is this the best example of government tweeting you’ve seen? Can you think of any other good government Twitter accounts?

11 Comments Add yours

  1. koosli says:

    @QueenslandRail is another great account, although only relevant to people in Brisbane. They give timely updates and explanations of train disruptions, always with humour. Lots of interaction too. If you compare it with the other Brissy PT account, @TranslinkSEQ, the difference in tweets directed at them is vast – one interactive and good-natured, the other frustrated and one-sided.

    1. Prakky says:

      Hi Koosli, thanks for reading Prakkypedia. I’ll look up those Twitter accounts you’ve cited. Cheers.

  2. I’m loving their tweets too, and agree with everything you’ve written. Just disappointed I didn’t start following them earlier. They really should be recognised for a job well done. I’d be interested in the back story too. Who’s idea, how the use of the account got approved and if there is a policy etc.

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks for the comment Jodie. I’ll ask @2011census if they can contribute some insights – perhaps after #censusmas when they’re less busy.

  3. Ben Teoh says:

    You know me, if they can find a way to add achievements and badges to the census, I’d be all over it!

    1. Prakky says:

      Like, “You spelt your name correctly” badge?

      1. Ben Teoh says:

        “You got your wife’s birthday correct”

  4. I think they have done a great job – but my favorite govt twitter account is @QPMedia – especially for all their work earlier in the year during the floods.


    1. Prakky says:

      Hi Jade! Yes, thanks to @oliyoung’s great Tumblr, I had seen the milkshake tweet. Classic.

  5. another box ticked for Census – their server didn’t crash under high load

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