Local Focus: Cities & Social Media

Social Media is Definitely Popular – But is it an Effective Tool for Cities?

League of Oregon Cities

In a very short span of time, social media has evolved from a technological fad to a potentially long-term, effective communication option for cities.  Nearly two years ago, the cover of Local Focus asked if any cities had tried out this new thing called social media (June 2010).  Today, it’s clear that cities in Oregon are steadily (and in some cases reluctantly) embracing social media as a way to communicate with community members.  Responding to an informal LOC survey, 33 of the 40 largest cities in Oregon (83 percent) indicated they are using some form of social media, including 100 percent participation by the state’s 20 largest cities (see table, page 21).  In addition, several small cities (under 5,000 pop.) confirmed their use of social media, including one of the smallest, the City of Rufus (pop. 250).  It also appears that more cities will join the social media bandwagon soon, as numerous survey respondents indicated that they need to resolve operational, legal and policy issues before launching their social media participation.  Some are just waiting to attend one of the League’s upcoming workshops on social media before joining in.

So while city use of social media is steadily growing in Oregon, still to be sorted out are the practical elements of putting this powerful tool to work for a city.  For example, what are the best platforms for a particular city?  How does a city implement a particular platform?  And, do the benefits of social media use truly outweigh the challenges?

Continue reading this article in the April 2012 Edition of Local Focus.

This edition also features the following articles related to social media:

  • Social Media and Municipal Law: Friends and Forums, Tweets and Traps
  • Using Social Media in Hiring Decisions: Easy Pickings or a Poisonous Fruit?
  • Social Media and the Workplace: “You Can’t Discipline Me for That!”