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Social Media

“Social Media” is now mainstream, grandparents are on Facebook, young children know what Twitter means and thriving downtowns will be Foursquare hot-spots before the year is out!  Rather than using one-way communication, social media creates the opportunity for instantaneous two-way dialogue.  This provides endless opportunities for communities to market themselves and engage their public in ways never before imaginable.  Research suggests that the effective use of messaging and technology is instrumental in succeeding in the 21st century.

Social media also creates complexities and potential liabilities for municipal government, with regard to Open Meetings Act, Freedom of Information Act and the responsibilities and limitations of public employers.  It is indeed an exciting time in public service, and the most successful communities will leverage the opportunities presented by social media while carefully planning for potential pitfalls.

The Village of Lake Isabella has fairly specific social media and website policy detailing village employee conduct, conduct for visitors to the village's Facebook page, and guidelines for responding to reader comments.

The City of Novi provides a sample policy on technology use and electronic records retention that applies to social media use.

The City of Seattle has a sample policy on blogging and social media use.

Battle Creek (HRC) pop. 52,347
Berkley (HRC) pop. 14,970
Birmingham (HRC) pop. 20,103

Dearborn (HRC) pop. 98,153:

Hudsonville (HRC) pop. 7,116
Madison Heights (HRC) pop. 29,694
Troy (HRC) pop. 80,980

Contact with questions or to share your sample policies related to social media.


Contact: Luke Forrest
Phone: 734.669.6323 or E-mail:




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