It’s been an extremely busy two days, so sorry for the lack of blog posts. I just finished up sitting on a panel for the American Planning Association conference in Boise. The panel was on using social media to get your message out and the challenges faced by government agencies doing so. It was pretty interesting. Most of the other agency representatives on the panel are doing strictly Facebook and/or Twitter. Our challenge at SRTC though is that we’re a planning agency, so don’t always have something of interest to the general public to put out every day, or even every week. Without fresh content, people tend to quit following you.

That’s part of the reason we chose to blog initially. It provides a more varied platform, which means we can post our own news when it’s happening, or we can help spread the news of other agencies, such as when the City has a public meeting, or WSDOT is doing construction work on the freeway or Spokane Transit is making service cuts.

Some insights I learned from the other panelists:

– People born between 1981 and 2000 are known as the ‘Millenial Generation’ and are generally getting the bulk of their current events information from their phones.

– Many agencies have actually hired positions just to do social media or have contracted with public relations firms to manage their social media accounts.

– Some items that we put out to the mainstream media doesn’t get publicized, so using Twitter or Facebook or blogs lets you get the message directly to the public.

– Because we do behind-the-scenes planning and don’t build roads or plow snow, The ‘face’ of an agency like SRTC is often our website or blog so we need to put some effort into it.

Okay, I’m getting kicked out of my hotel room now so have to wrap this up. Any comments in regards to social media in relation to transportation or public agencies?

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