April 21, 2010

Social media: Increasing access to public meetings

Social media increases accessibility to public meetings from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaI‘m at NewComm Forum this week, probably the best gathering of minds around social media, marketing and new media anywhere. (I’ll be speaking Friday about the future of journalism.) It’s also a superlative venue for networking.

Last year I met Kathleen Clark of San Francisco-based CirclePoint. As part of our continuing series of vignettes with experts about different aspects of social media, Kathleen talks about the use of social media by government agencies in this quick 4-minute interview. She makes the often-overlooked point that members of the public who can’t attend government agency meetings in person can often contribute their ideas and feedback through sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Watch, download or embed the video on Vimeo

CirclePoint specializes in strategic communications development and environmental planning. Many of their clients are public agencies working on infrastructure projects and seeking to implement communications for public outreach and public education. One key client is the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, which wanted to reach a broader audience through a public presence for them on Twitter (5,215 followers) and on Facebook (I just “liked” them).

Why should companies and government agencies take up social media? “It lets you tell a story in a personal way, and to have a higher level of engagement with people,” Kathleen says. “Traditionally, the mode at a lot of government agencies has been to talk at people. Social media lets you talk with people.”

Accessibility comes into play, too. Not everyone can come to a public meeting. But if you’re a government agency, you can put out the call for feedback on Twitter, Facebook or other social networks, and you can reach a broader segment of the public and hear their concerns, she says.

Absolutely right. JD Lasica, founder of Socialmedia.biz, is now co-founder of the cruise discovery engine Cruiseable. See his About page, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

One thought on “Social media: Increasing access to public meetings

  1. All government agencies and companies should have a presence on Facebook and Twitter to say the least. Kathleen is absolutely right with the points she makes. Not only does social media help you communicate and talk with people, but it screams authenticity and transparency. If a government agency gets involved in the social media scene…which they already should be doing, it shows that they are willing to interact and care about their audience. Most “old school” business people don't understand that we are living in a new world where social media has taken over. If you aren't a part of the game, you don't exist.

    I honestly believe they don't want to understand and are refusing to adapt to changing times. The older generation usually has this problem because they feel the way they grew up is the only way to live, but the government of all things should recognize the way things are now. Social media gives you a voice, yes, but it also puts you on a whole other level in terms of caring about each person that cares with what you have to say.