White Rock considers social media plan

White Rock would be wise to jump aboard the social-media train, city politicians have been told.

Communications co-ordinator Jamie Leggatt told the city's governance and legislation committee last week the use of such online tools as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin would enable the city to "expand its communication reach" with residents, visitors, business owners and other stakeholders.

She noted many municipalities are already using social media, and that anything White Rock posted would link back to the city's website, which was revamped last year. It's an opportunity to interact with residents online and draw them back to the website, she said.

In November, the new site drew more than 16,000 hits, the majority of which were new visitors, Leggatt noted.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin said while he uses but doesn't yet like social media, he believes the city could benefit from it, particularly in efforts to engage the younger generation in municipal government.

"Perhaps we should get with the times," he said. "I don't think we can neglect it – it's too well-used."

Coun. Larry Robinson described it as "a very immediate type of communication." Citing the August 2010 boil-water advisory, he said an avenue like Twitter would be useful in quickly advising people of major events.

One committee member expressed concern the city wasn't ready to implement social media.

"Personally, I think it's a little premature," said Coun. Louise Hutchinson.

"It just seems we're putting the cart before the horse here."

Hutchinson said she would prefer to see the city's new webpage fully up and running first – a point Leggatt assured is the case.

Asked if the city is ready for social media, acting city manager Sandra Kurylo said "there's no question this is the way of the world."

She noted adoption of a social-media policy would likely necessitate increasing Leggatt's hours of employment, an issue that would have to be included in the next city budget.

Suggestions to defer the policy until the potential budget impact is clarified and until after an upcoming goal-setting session were supported unanimously.


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