Government Fun on Facebook

Government can have fun with Facebook! This video shares stories about communities that have connected with citizens by having a sense of humor on social media. Hear about the City of Reno, Nevada, Round Rock, Texas, and Multnomah County, Oregon.

One day, I’ll have an actual microphone and better editing equipment. Until then, please don’t mind the scrappy quality :-)

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Carrie Guinn

Great post Kristy. I shared it with some Commissioners in our county since they are just considering getting on Facebook. I believe most of the public officials feel that the public will view them as wasteful in some way if they see them having fun or being what I call “real”. I don’t think that’s true for most of the general pubic. Have you or anyone else found citizens getting upset when the their local government engages in fun? I think is even more important in these tough economic times to engage citizens in ways that make them feel good about their home town. Give them something to enjoy and relieve stress rather than always hearing about the serious things.

Mark Dwyer

Yes, Kristy, you did a great job with this piece. It was fun and edgy…and educational. I totally understand Carrie’s question about whether any persons did not appreciate their government joking around (please let us know). Most US cities, towns, townships and villages want their civil servants to be serious as heart-attacks. Reno strikes me as a city where citizens are not that way, so you are lucky to live and work in such an environment. I look forward to experiencing more GovGirl segments!

Kristy Dalton

@Carrie and @Mark – Thanks for your comments! Yes, you definitely have to have a feel for your audience. It helps that we don’t have our official city seal as our profile pic, and we don’t just reprint official city press releases. We post things we think are interesting, and when we need the public’s help. There’s a fine line between being lighthearted and corny. If we were corny and cheesy all the time, residents would get annoyed.

One thing we’ve learned is to post something (like a link to an article about the city), and let your citizens comment with their take. DO NOT editorialize. Saying things like, “This article really gets at the heart about what our great city is all about” is sure to backfire. But saying “Talk about Reno’s wind turbines in the WSJ” (then a link to the article), lets the public make their own conclusions.

Citizens are pretty smart, and they can see when you’re trying to pat yourself on the back or lead them into making mushy happy remarks about your community.