The City of Thunder Bay in moving forward onto Twitter is a step forward

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iconsTHUNDER BAY – Editorial – The City of Thunder Bay has been on Facebook for quite a while. Now the city has joined along with many other communities by setting up a Twitter account. This is a step forward for the City’s communications efforts, and a recognition that a lot of people in our community are online.

On Facebook for example there are over 70,000 accounts online within fifty kilometres of Thunder Bay. The importance of social media as a communications tool is a factor in many aspects of our region that many companies have already realized. It is a fast way to garner what is happening in the city.

The City of Thunder Bay, one hopes by moving forward into Twitter will be something that more members of City Council soon follow. The short nature of a ‘Tweet’, one hundred and forty characters means it is easy to do, and fast. However more importantly, some City Councillors don’t seem to have understood the importance of email. There are members of Council who ignore emails, according to comments from many NetNewsledger readers. A lack of accountability by those Councillors will undo any gains made by Administration in offering engagement online by Facebook or Twitter.

The reality of the Internet is that for growing numbers of people, the ‘Net has become another social medium. Some Councillors appear to long for the days of open line radio, thinking that was all they had to do to interact with their actual employers, the citizens of the city.

Statistics Canada states that almost eighty percent of homes in Thunder Bay have access to the Internet. On Facebook if one were consider that many accounts are not all that active, some say that up to twenty-five percent of new Facebook accounts are abandoned within a month, the figures are still substantial.

The official Thunder Bay twitter account is not however the City of Thunder Bay’s first step into social media. Tourism Manager Paul Pepe has been leading the way there, for the past several years with a blog, and with an active Twitter account. Social media is an increasingly popular way for reaching out to share information, and attract visitor.

The ‘Net can not replace personal interaction, and it is possible for some in government there is a concern that simply firing out one-way information via social media is enough. The medium is ‘Social Networking’ and that is a key to the whole process. If it is all one-way outgoing communications, then the full opportunities will be missed.

Some departments apparently are fearful of change, as it means greater interaction with the people who they serve. That is an attitude of the 1950s and earlier, checking the calander, it is 2012, and the world isn’t ending just yet.

For governments, and for public agencies, moving into social media can be something either embraced, or feared. However in a democracy, it is critical to be where the people are. In Thunder Bay increasingly people are engaging online. For any government or public agency to fear being where the people are, or to worry about what might be said is out of step with the times, and likely leads to concerns from citizens that they might be ‘hiding something’.

THUNDER BAY – The City of Thunder Bay has been on Facebook for quite a while. Now the city has joined along with many other communities by setting up a Twitter account. This is a step forward for the City’s communications efforts, and a recognition that a lot of people in our community are online.

On Facebook for example there are over 70,000 accounts online within fifty kilometres of Thunder Bay. The importance of social media as a communications tool is a factor in many aspects of our region that many companies have already realized. It is a fast way to garner what is happening in the city.

The City of Thunder Bay, one hopes by moving forward into Twitter will be something that more members of City Council soon follow. The short nature of a ‘Tweet’, one hundred and forty characters means it is easy to do, and fast. However more importantly, some City Councillors don’t seem to have understood the importance of email. There are members of Council who ignore emails, according to comments from many NetNewsledger readers. A lack of accountability by those Councillors will undo any gains made by Administration in offering engagement online by Facebook or Twitter.

The reality of the Internet is that for growing numbers of people, the ‘Net has become another social medium. Some Councillors appear to long for the days of open line radio, thinking that was all they had to do to interact with their actual employers, the citizens of the city.

Statistics Canada states that almost eighty percent of homes in Thunder Bay have access to the Internet. On Facebook if one were consider that many accounts are not all that active, some say that up to twenty-five percent of new Facebook accounts are abandoned within a month, the figures are still substantial.

The official Thunder Bay twitter account is not however the City of Thunder Bay’s first step into social media. Tourism Manager Paul Pepe has been leading the way there, for the past several years with a blog, and with an active Twitter account. Social media is an increasingly popular way for reaching out to share information, and attract visitor.

The ‘Net can not replace personal interaction, and it is possible for some in government there is a concern that simply firing out one-way information via social media is enough. The medium is ‘Social Networking’ and that is a key to the whole process. If it is all one-way outgoing communications, then the full opportunities will be missed.

Some departments apparently are fearful of change, as it means greater interaction with the people who they serve. That is an attitude of the 1950s and earlier, checking the calander, it is 2012, and the world isn’t ending just yet.

For governments, and for public agencies, moving into social media can be something either embraced, or feared. However in a democracy, it is critical to be where the people are. In Thunder Bay increasingly people are engaging online. For any government or public agency to fear being where the people are, or to worry about what might be said is out of step with the times, and likely leads to concerns from citizens that they might be ‘hiding something’.

The City of Thunder Bay in moving forward onto Twitter is a step forward. It is also an indication that technology is rapidly changing and our community is aware of that change.

James Murray
Chief Content Officer.

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