Are you on Twitter? Why do you tweet and how do you tweet?
I activated my Twitter account about eight years ago. It had laid dormant because I am mostly a Facebook guy. It wasn’t until fellow Local Gov Peeps started asking to connect with me on Facebook that I realized I had a choice to make. I could have gone back through ten years of Facebook posts and cleaned up my entire history. I could deny any people from finding me on Facebook, change my username, and lose the opportunity to connect with Peeps, or I could dust off my Twitter handle and try to figure out what Twitter was all about. I only tweeted a couple things in my youth and those were easily erased. I had a total of three followers! My LinkedIn profile and my Twitter profile picture are the same and I try tweet and retweet local government and professional content. Mostly.
I am still on Facebook, if you friend me, you’ll see my political rants, the pretty meals I ate (cross-posting with Instagram), and the cool places I’m checking-in! It’s mostly private with me over-sharing my personal life. That’s how I use Facebook and that’s what I think Facebook should be.
Back to tweets! For the past two years I’ve made sure to follow people on Twitter who are involved in one way or another with local government. It’s my main source of news of all things local government. It seems like every local government and their mother has a Twitter account that they use to communicate with their residents. Our President would be proud! Obviously not every organization is on Twitter and your organization should use whatever social media is most effective. Y’all ain’t seen the vocal residents until you get on Long Beach’s NextDoor.
The City of Torrance uses twitter to tweet about traffic reports, release emergency alerts, relay popular city events, and live tweet our council meetings. Buuut… Not all local gov orgs use twitter the same.
Hands down, my favorite twitter handle is Wyoming Police Department. Wyoming City in the State of Minnesota. I know. They know too.
We were a city before WY was a state. I guess picture books must not have covered that in WI. Xoxo https://t.co/qIz3I9DnZs
— Wyoming (MN) Police (@wyomingpd) August 22, 2017
@wyomingpd is one of the most most self-aware Twitter handles I’ve seen from a local government. I actually don’t know the person behind a Twitter handle but I absolutely love their tweets!
In custody subject asked ‘Have you been eating donuts? Your eyes look glazed.’
I giggled.#CantMakeThisUp #TweetTheBeat #DWIArrest
— Wyoming (MN) Police (@wyomingpd) September 11, 2016
On April 20th, they posted a picture of a trap to catch people. For people that are unaware about 420, there’s history behind smoking marijuana on 4/20 on every year and the Wyoming PD Twitter account absolutely knew this.
Undercover #420 operations are in place. Discreet traps have been set up throughout the city today. #Happy420 pic.twitter.com/Jo8mh0Z5lQ
— Wyoming (MN) Police (@wyomingpd) April 20, 2017
They also update us on their routine calls:
Noise complaint on 260th St. Caller reportilng someone is playing the bass too loud. #VRA pic.twitter.com/2wz65fet0O
— Wyoming (MN) Police (@wyomingpd) November 5, 2017
A second Twitter account that I love is the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Transportation handle. I don’t think BART has attitude in responding to riders, they just kept it 100.
@tquad64 Planners in 1996 had no way of predicting the tech boom – track redundancy, new tunnels & transbay tubes are decades-long projects.
— SFBART ? (@SFBART) March 17, 2016
— Metro (@metrolosangeles) March 17, 2016
Do you have any favorite official government Twitter or other social media accounts? Are there any that demonstrate how not to behave? Sound off!
Joey Garcia is an Administrative Analyst with the City of Torrance and he occasionally tweets.