City Adds Twitter and Facebook Services
City Administrator Matt Unrein will send important, but not urgent, messages to residents with social media accounts.
Arnold City Hall added Twitter and Facebook to its services. Visitors to the City Hall website should see blue icons for the services in the upper right corner of the webpage.
The Twitter icon appeared on March 2. The Facebook icon appeared on Friday.
Twitter and Facebook are free, Internet-based, subscription services—or social media services—that allow organizations or people to send short messages about daily events. Twitter limits messages to 140 characters in length.
The limitation is that residents need a Twitter or Facebook account to receive the city’s messages. On Twitter, people need to “follow” the organization sending the message. On Facebook, people need to become “friends” to see the message.
City Hall added the services because there were important, but not urgent, messages that needed to reach the residents, City Administrator Matt Unrein said on Friday morning.
Radio and TV broadcasts always provide information about Amber alerts or tornado warnings, Unrein said. Important but non-urgent information is rarely announced to broadcast audiences.
Twitter and Facebook messages can announce when bad weather forces City Hall to close, for example. Event reminders about a concert or an update about street repairs are other examples of important but non-urgent information.
Unrein, department chiefs and the city’s information technology manager, Deion Christopher will determine the types of messages posted on a particular web-service.
Unrein presented the idea to use social media to council members during the Jan. 13 work session.
During the session, Ward 1 Councilwoman Christine “Cricky” Lang asked whether using social media violated Missouri’s Sunshine Law. The law requires elected officials to provide information about meetings, records, votes, actions, and discussions about public policy.
Unrein said the city’s Twitter and Facebook accounts would be limited to one-way messaging, where the city’s accounts would send messages only. A discussion between elected officials requires people to listen and follow the conversation.
The city’s Twitter account will not follow messages from other accounts, in order to comply with the Sunshine Law, Unrein said.
Residents will be unable to post comments on the city’s Facebook website to prevent obscene, vulgar or libelous comments on the webpage, Unrein said.