Tuesday, January 7, 2014

City News

Gaetz's Ten Commandments

Is City Hall's social media plan designed to obstruct print and online news, or facilitate it?

Staff/Voice photos


A slide that was shown during City Hall's meeting on Tuesday outlining their new social media policy.


he City Council afternoon session Tuesday was pretty much a mundane affair with the minor exception that the City's new social media policy was ratified.

Basically, the decree covers everything that most people practice while engaging in social media anyway, so it's not really "news".


But the question here is why the City feels the need to establish their own cult following on Twitter and Facebook in order to put out their news?

A few months back, notice of a newsy item was made on their social engagement sites, however no notice of it was sent to media.

When questioned about it, City staff told the Voice that they "didn't think it was news."

But the call was made by staffers and media was given no chance to cover the story, unless of course you just happen to be a follower of their social media sites, which the Voice is not a part of.

Up until this point, any calls on news items have been left to media not City Hall staff.

So, is this what we are to expect in the future from City Hall with them making the calls on what is considered news?

All this does is undermine media's job which is to sift through anything coming from the City and to make the call on whether or not it's news.

Last year, the City glammed up their website the cost of which has not been made public with all the bells and whistles. This was done to attract readers. The old site worked fine as it was without the gew-gaws.

There have been some recent comments from members of community that Mayor Sharon Gaetz rules her "Life in the Wack" Facebook page with an iron fist and some have found themselves blocked from accessing the page.

Although "Life in the Wack" is promoted as welcoming the public, it seems this isn't the case.

According to one report, a fellow commented about a couple of trees that came down on a property and was promptly banned for it. Others have said they don't understand why they can't access the page.

What's your take on this? Let us know and we'll share that with our readers on the Voice.

Please send your comments via e-mail here.



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Below, are the guidelines by which City Hall staff will govern themselves when engaging the public in social media.