City embraces social media tools

The City of Williams Lake has stepped up to include short videos on Youtube to share information.

The City of Williams Lake has stepped up to include short videos on Youtube to share information, said communications coordinator Ken MacInnis during a presentation to city council Tuesday.

Some of the videos posted to date include the inaugural speeches, council’s Christmas greeting, Heritage Week, a reminder about dog licenses, and the Rick Hansen Man in Motion Anniversary tour.

Veering from simply filming presentations, MacInnis and city staff have embarked on creating some videos of their own.

One of those is a video reminding residents to put their garbage and recycling cans out in the morning.

“We think it’s very effective for public education to explain bylaws and those types of things. It’s a lot easier to see it happen than read it in a brochure,” MacInnis suggested.

Coupled with the city’s website is the city’s presence on Facebook with 71 people following, and Twitter with 105 followers. In addition, MacInnis regularly sends city and council information to 180 e-mail recipients.

When it comes to Twitter, MacInnis said there are followers from all over the province, including media, citizens, tourism associations, and two MLAs.

“Very few municipalities our size have a social-media presence at all, many cities don’t have anything, and some just have Facebook, so we’re actually ahead of the curve when it comes to social media,” MacInnis told council.

One of the great things with social media, he added, is the ability to share from one social medium to the next.

“As soon as you upload a video you can post a feed on Twitter, so it’s great for quick updates.”

People are welcome to comment on the city’s social media tools, but are asked not to make service requests — those have to go directly to city hall.

Coun. Geoff Bourdon asked if future plans are in the works to involve public input tools.

“If we say we’re looking at adopting this budget then we can ask the public yes or no and we’ll get a yes or a no,” Bourdon said.

MacInnis responded the city has used survey monkey a number of times for public input and used social media to receive public input on the budget process.

Mayor Kerry Cook thanked MacInnis for the report and said it shows the city is trying a wide variety of ways to reach out to the public.

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