Social Media for the Public Works Professional

Public Works Resource
September 5, 2012 — 1,405 views  
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Keeping citizens informed is an important task of city officials. The public works department of cities can use social media as a tool to keep the public informed. Through Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms, public works professionals can make timely updates that will keep people up-to-date with the happenings of a city.

Using Twitter and Facebook to post updates on things like construction and city cleaning projects is a good way to inform large amounts of people quickly. These means of communicating are also more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than mass mailings. Many cities have begun blogs that provide a place for individuals to get updates about the city plans and current projects. 

Some of the major tasks of social media when used by public works offices should be to promote new projects and explain the details, to summarize meeting minutes and reports, to remind citizens of regulations and ordinances, and to notify residents of emergency situations. Twitter is becoming increasingly popular in emergency situations for its fast updates that are viewed by mass amounts of people. Roadwork and traffic reports are also good things for public works departments to announce over Twitter.

For visual reports of public works projects, Twitter and YouTube are good mediums to show pictures and videos. The public may be interested to see projected plans or the progression on a project. Videos of officials being interviewed about the city plans or projects is another good way that public works departments can make use of YouTube. 

Public works blog sites should also include maps of the city and zoning information. This can be done easily by using snapshots of Google maps or other virtual services. If a city utilizes a public works blog site with information they may want to keep in mind that visitors to the city will find the blog useful and could be a good resource. Contact information for city officials is another useful feature that public works blogs should contain. Email addresses and phone numbers to reach officials will help keep citizens feel connected to government. 

Using social media is a great way for public works departments to engage more efficiently with a wider range of residents. When utilized well, social media platforms allow public works departments to save time, costs, and resources while keeping the public informed and engaged in the happenings around a city, whether regular occurrences or emergency situations. 

Public Works Resource