A substantial part of the select board’s job is communicating effectively with the public. I will acknowledge before we get started here that not everyone is on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.). Even more, many people don’t understand how they work. But for those who do use it, and understand at least at a basic level how it works, social media can be transformative.
More than a place to share funny pictures of cats with your friends, Facebook can be used to spread news of upcoming events, to receive RSVPs to those events, and to share ocmments ideas or documents. When you put it like that, a muncipality that’s not at least doing something on Facebook is likely missing a huge opportunity for engagment. Solicit ideas? Post ideas? Receive feedback? Announce meetings? Isn’t that what a responsive government is always attempting to do?
I am proposing a social media policy to be adopted by the Castine Select Board. My goal is to present a first draft of such a policy at our December 18 select board meeting. The policy will dicate who has access to post to municipal social media accounts, expectations for behavior of those posting, what constitues abuse online, and the consequences for those who would abuse the municipal accounts online.
Many other municipalities and organizations use social media on a regular basis to communicate with their constituents. The opportunity for Castine is to provide faster response times to issues, spreading the word to more people about meetings, hearings and work sessions, and generally enriching our government.
My hope is that this social media policy will allow us to communicate more effectively as a municipal government. But I also want to make sure everyone has a chance to weigh in with their questions and concerns. I encourage you to either talk to me in person, on the phone, via social media, or come to our December 18 board meeting.