Knope of the Week: Patrick Rollens, Village of Oak Park, Social Media Coordinator

Posted on December 13, 2013


What is the Knope of the Week?

It’s our way of recognizing an individual or group of individuals who have excelled in promoting the public sector. Recipients may come from the public or private sector and are nominated by ELGL members. Recipients receive an incredible amount of recognition and prizes that we are not at liberty to disclose. The storied history of the award dates back to 2012.

And the winner is…….

Patrick Rollens


Village of Oak Park, Communications and Social Media

Previous: Digital producer, Chicago Tribune Media Group and Freelance Editor, Fantasy Flight Games

Awards: First Place, Use of Social Media, National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors and Best Website Redesign Society for News Design

Education: University of Missouri-Columbia, Bachelor of Journalism

Connect: LinkedIn and Twitter

 Webinar PresentationPatrick Rollen’s Social Media Presentation

Webinar Photo Gallery: Social Media Best Practices for Public Sector

Knope Worthy Accomplishments

tupac-shakur-picture-me-rollin.american-apparel-unisex-fitted-tee.brown.w760h760Illinois has given us iconic figures including Honest Abe, MJ, Oprah, Blago, and now, the state has rewarded us with two of our most recent Knope of the Week winners, Bridget Doyle and Patrick Rollens. Bridget schooled us on media relations, and this week, Patrick spoke the gospel of social media best practices in local government. Along with a truckload of social media knowledge, Patrick’s webinar birthed our new favorite hashtag – #PictureMeRollens.

In our webinar with Patrick, he discussed the different audiences on Facebook and Twitter, answered a number of audience questions, and dealt with a phone ringing more than your local Chinese takeout joint. And as an early holiday gift, Patrick has signed on to write an ELGL column on social media.

So what else did we learn from Patrick? For that answer, we turn to our Twitterazzi who provided an insightful play-by-play of the action.

Create a track record of content.

“Who will feed the beast?” Determine who drives your social media presence.

If you are going to open social media accounts – you need to commit. Use it frequently.

Aw, @PatrickWRollens is modest: says “no one is a social media expert bc the field is too new.”

@PatrickWRollens uses a conversational tone on @twitter to start two way engagement.

@PatrickWRollens live tweets @vopnews council meetings. Allows for interactivity, feedback.

Resist the urge to have every tweet become a “Message from the Mayor.” Policy over politics.

@PatrickWRollens is the source for this factoid: residents only give #localgov 3-5 min a day.

@vopnews spends no money on social media ads. They do employ @PatrickWRollens but no ad dollars spent. #PictureMeRollens #ELGLwebinar

“I don’t want to buy followers. I want the people who live in our town.”

“Be a control freak.” Don’t split your audience across departmental pages.

@PatrickWRollens loves cats, high brow jokes, local gov.

Remember you can’t always control your hash tag for your community.

“Local gov doesn’t own the social media content, so onus is not on us to archive.”

@vopnews uses @Pinterest effectively.

“Hide” comments on FB instead of “deleting.” Excellent way to avoid confrontation.

Patrick @PatrickWRollens joins the masses in bashing usefulness of Google+.

“There’s a human being on the other side of account” is a way #localgov can improve Twitter presence.

In one IL town, the Mayor has to sign off on every “tweet.” Anthony Weiner would be proud.

Schedule “tweets” to occur over the weekend. You need to maintain a presence.

Copying other good “tweeters” is a good way to become comfortable with #socialmedia

Patrick @PatrickWRollens learned about current job at @vopnews through Twitter.

Word on the Street


Grady Wheeler, City of Milwaukie, Public Affairs Coordinator

Patrick did a great job demystifying social media and I left the discussion feeling much more comfortable and able to utilize our Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Ben McCready, Rock Island, Assistant to the City Manager969303_544044749014425_112319584_n

If there such a thing as a social media expert, it’s Patrick Rollens. His personality exudes a contagious energy which gives others the confidence to take on the challenge that is social media. Scott embodies the success that comes from realizing it’s a person behind the account not a computer and that the only way to tell the story is to be part of the conversation. When it comes down to it social media is an engagement tool and success is proportional to effort.

Dan Englund, Listen Acoustics, Inc. Business Manager, Para-Engineer & Project Manager

Patrick Rollen’s take on social media for local government is surprisingly candid and fresh. He truly understands the art of communication and how we can apply it to the public sector which has generally lacked innovations to this regard.

Bridget Doyle, Village of Lombard (IL), Communications Coordinator

Patrick’s passion for sharing information and communicating effectively with residents is unmatched. He’s exactly the type of fresh, forward-thinking staffer every local government needs.

Kirsten Wyatt, City of West Linn, Assistant City Manager

ELGL is proud to provide timely, relevant, and interesting learning opportunities.  Patrick hit a homerun with his webinar:

  • He provided relevant, timely, and applicable guidance on local government social media use;
  • His presentation was engaging and funny; and
  • He set a new standard for how everyone in the training session will likely conduct themselves on social media in the future.

Ben Kittelson, City of West Linn and PSU MPA Student1456594_544044505681116_411660654_n

There was so much great information, I think some of the best advice was: to only have one social media account for the organization not one for every department or board, to start a two-way conversation with citizens on social media–don’t just ‘push’ information out there, and the idea that Facebook and Twitter audiences are different. He thought of things I hadn’t considered, like targeting Facebook posts to parents before and after work and not posting negative stories on Facebook, then for Twitter giving traffic/weather updates and providing a larger volume of information because the audience is different, also the idea of using Pinterest as a way to provide pictures to the public was great.  Really well thought out and an awesome presentation!

 David Powers, Village of Oak Park, Communications Director

Patrick has given the Village of Oak Park the tools to ensure that its public affairs messages remain relevant in the rapidly changing world of how people get and share information. He understands the social media landscape and how it can best fit within the necessarily structured environment in which government must operate. He also projects an enthusiasm for the medium that helps convince wary government insiders to take more risks with how they interact with constituents. The Village of Oak Park is fortunate to have an individual of Patrick’s caliber to guide us through what many still consider uncharted waters for municipal government.

Nancy Munson, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Public Affairs

Patrick’s ideas helped build the success of our Websites at the Chicago Tribune, and his innovative spirit inspired colleagues to keep working toward the next level of digital excellence. Patrick cares about his audience, and knows how to create relationships with key influencers in the community.

It’s great to go to work and be surrounded by smart people who want to build something useful in the world and are not afraid to try new technologies. And that’s what it’s like to work with him.

Kent Wyatt, City of Tigard, Senior Management Analyst

Patrick is what local government needs — engaging, knowledgeable, and internet savvy. Now if he could only help me get more Pinterest followers.

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