During a meeting this past weekend I once again had the chance to interact with local government officials from all over the country. I attended an excellent session on social media, mostly to see the reactions and hear the questions from meeting attendees.
What I heard from them was the same thing I had been hearing for years…this stuff is great, but I don’t have time, I don’t have staff, I don’t know how it works. I really felt that I had a possible solution for these officials, so I shared my thoughts during the discussion part of the workshop. I said that making a plan and mapping out a strategy is one of the best ways to help you get organized, even if you’re working all by yourself. Light bulbs went on, and many people thought this was a terrific idea. I still don’t know why not everyone thinks of making a plan first, reviewing the tools they will use and the outcomes they expect.
With just a bit of searching, we discovered folks local to meeting attendees already using Twitter and Facebook to discuss community activities and issues. These local officials did not know about this discussion at all. The conclusion was clear…”I need to get on board now to connect with my community.”
At this point in time, do local elected officials have a obligation to utilize, or at least monitor, social media channels to connect with their constituents?