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Local Social Media Valuable During Storm

A month ago LMT launched their Facebook and Twitter. Props to Commissioner Conrad for spearheading it despite sometimes snarky support from some of the other commissioners.

I started advocating for LMT to initiate social media about 2 years ago. A month ago they launched their Facebook and Twitter. Props to Commissioner Conrad for spearheading it despite sometimes snarky support from some of the other commissioners.

Sandy showed us exactly why it's critical local gov't uses every tool available to get information out to the public.

During the height of the storm LMT, Alburtis and Allentown Social media were humming with updates and information. And it was a two way street. Residents posted questions, concerns and updates throughout the storm. Lower Macungie Patch's facebook gained nearly 150 "likes" during the height of the storm. It was clear, residents were turning to the internet via smartphones for information.

And it was very effective. Residents in the Borough of Macungie however were left in the dark. Despite staff drawing up a social media policy some on council are skeptical. I hope this shows beyond doubt how critical it is to use this powerful tool. And it's not just during emergencies.

10 ways Facebook can help local government better serve their constituents

Here are many of the local links that residents turned to for information during the storm.

Local Gov't Social Media
Alburtis PD
Alburtis Borough
Lower Macungie Township
Commissioner Ryan Conrad (LMT)
Allentown Mayor
City of Allentown

Local organizations
Lower Macungie Library
Friends for Protection of Lower Macungie Township (East Penn Smart Growth resident organization)

Local Media
Morning Call

Lower Macungie Patch

Lower Macungie Patch Facebook

Lower Macungie Patch on Twitter

Emmaus Patch

Emmaus Patch Facebook

Emmaus Patch on Twitter

Did you use Social Media to access information during the storm?

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Ron Beitler November 01, 2012 at 03:38 PM
The demographics of Facebook have changed. What once was a place kids went to to waste time is more and more often a functional tool for adults and critical source of news, information and of course social. Long gone are the days when FB was a "trend". The latest study from Pew Internet found that 65% of adult Internet users spend time on social networking sites like Facebook. Up from 61% of adult Internet users in 2010, way up from 29% in 2008 and way WAY up from 5% in 2005. On a typical day, the only tools that are used more often are email (61%) and search engines (59%).
Willet Thomas November 01, 2012 at 03:56 PM
I agree that FB Social Media can be used for good, however there are hackers out there that intentionally input news that has no merit and can cause confusion among residents. Also to use SBSM one must have access to the internet. All in all however it's a good thing and certainly allows important info to be circulated.

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