• Advertisement

  • Council reviews Social Media Policies

    The Social Media Policies are expected to be revised and brought back in a future council meeting

    Chestermere City Council received the Social Media Policy and Council Social Media Policy Overview for information at the Nov. 9 Committee of the Whole Meeting.

    The City of Chestermere Social Media Policy outlines why and how the city participates in social media, covers user posting guidelines, outlines the expectation of employees’ personal use of social media, and generally summarizes how the city administers the accounts through the communications team.  

    “Members of council are not staff and are not bound by the same organizational policies, so council has its own social media policy,” said the City of Chestermere’s Communications Team Lead, Megan Matthies.

    The Council Social Media Policy outlines that councillors are expected to exercise personal responsibility, create, and manage their own accounts.

    “The mayor is the spokesperson for the city, and the councillors should not speak to certain items on social media, like active investigations, emergency responses, or in-camera items,” Matthies said.

    Adding, “These policies could use an update, and I do plan on bringing them back at a future council meeting.”

    On Facebook an individual can create a public or private profile, from there they can create a page that officially represents an organization, business, not-for-profit, or other entity.

    Users can create a group where people can connect, post, and share information. 

    “Our current practice is to only post on city-owned social media pages or profiles. We have one main active Facebook page for the city, and we have three other committee pages for specific purposes,” Matthies said.

    Annually, the communications team communicates about 200 to 250 different projects, initiatives, announcements, and events for the city.

    The city uses the Facebook page as it’s open and public, so anyone who wants to follow the page can do so and has the ability to share city posts to other Facebook groups.

    “Many community groups are private, and city representatives would not budge into conversations happening in real life, we take the same approach online. Groups are typically operated by private individuals; we don’t have the right or the ability to set regulations should any issues arise,” Matthies said.

    The advantages to participating in community social media groups include reaching a wider audience, promoting dialogue and clarity, and promoting transparency.

    Currently, the city is aware of 19 different Chestermere-related Facebook groups with a significant following.

    “We should consider the topic of the groups, and the tone of the conversation. The city can post on community groups certainly, but you may want to consider that as the elected officials what people want to hear from you about upcoming events, decisions, activities, and your representation of the community,” Matthies said.

    The city also tries to communicate with residents offline as well, such as coffee with council, comment boards in local businesses, committees, committee roundtable meetings, councillor attendance at local events, the mayors’ breakfast, and school visits.

    The city’s communication team is now working to ensure greater community engagement by having a direct link to council meetings from the city home page, posting an image of the council meeting agenda when it’s available, scheduling council meetings as Facebook events, sharing notifications when meeting minutes are available and looking into doing an audio or video follow up of council meetings.

    The city is also looking into creating Facebook groups through the city’s official page for specific topics, holding regular Facebook question and answer sessions, increasing the mayor’s social media presence, town halls, open houses, and neighbourhood meetings.

    “We can create a public engagement advisory committee, update the public participating policy, and council could direct more frequent engagement about any topic,” Matthies said.

    Adding, “There are many ways you can engage with the public, I’d suggest you consider how would the public like to be engaged, and what is the overall strategy or goal of the engagement.”

    City Councillor Sandy Johal-Watt is hopeful that the city can bridge the public engagement gap in a safe and timely manner that still maintains the rules and regulations for the city by building relationships with the administrators on private Chestermere Facebook groups.

    “I’m hoping there’s something we can do, at least to open the dialogue and have the residents understand we made the best attempt,” Johal-Watt said.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *