Smart Move, Springfield: Social Media Isn’t Free
March 25, 2014
March 25, 2014
During a recent Springfield City Council meeting, members took part in a debate happening in city halls and board rooms across the nation: Do we want to be on social media?
The story from the Springfield Republican is making the rounds on social media as political watchers and social media junkies have a chuckle at some of the quotes from the meeting.
“What if nobody friends us?” asked Councilor Kateri Walsh, triggering some laughter.
“Who is going to pay for this?” Councilor Clodovaldo Concepcion inquired, “How much will it cost?”
Many dismissed Councilor Concepcion’s question. Nearly everyone knows setting up your presence on social channels like Facebook and Twitter costs nothing. But that’s just the beginning of an organization’s work on social media.
Remember: Social media is not free.
Whether the Springfield City Council hires an outside consultant or adds “posting to Facebook” as a responsibility for an internal communications professional, someone must spend time optimizing and posting content on the page. And that costs money. Brand pages (which would include the Springfield City Council) are seeing organic reach cut by Facebook as Zuckerberg and Co. attempt to sell ads, so the city may have to find a small ad budget to best reach constituents with important information.
And the Council is right to bring up the legal ramifications of social media in government. When I worked for then-Boston City Council President Mike Ross, our office worked closely with our central staff and corporation counsel to ensure we didn’t run afoul of OCPF rules when posting content to the body’s Facebook and Twitter feeds. When you have to get the lawyers involved, it’s definitely not free to be on social media.
Kudos to the Springfield City Council for embracing the technology that allows the body to meet constituents where they are and for their close examination of the benefits, risks—and cost—of social media.