Matt Sutkoski writes in the Burlington Free Press today about how local governments in Vermont are using — or NOT using — Facebook and Twitter. And he takes a look at another tool of choice… Front Porch Forum.
Vermont towns and cities have not joined the herd to embrace social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Millions of individuals have accounts on the two sites, which enable people to trade comments, updates and information. Many businesses consider Facebook and Twitter de rigueur for marketing and communicating with their audiences.
Many managers and clerks in Vermont municipalities have not found a good reason to get on the Twitter and Facebook bandwagon. However, some cities and towns have found a more local social Web site, Front Porch Forum, more useful.
Front Porch Forum enables people in specific towns or neighborhoods to communicate via the Web with each other and provide updates. Many of the entries announce block parties, warn of car break-ins, ask questions on where to get services or comment on neighborhood issues.
“I look at each time it’s published, and basically I monitor it for problems,” Colchester Town Manager Al Voegele said. If an issue is causing a lot of discussion, he’ll discuss it with a town department head who would deal with that type of issue and see whether the town can help solve it, he said. Voegele said he sometimes comments on Front Porch Forum to clarify and explain issues affecting the neighborhoods.
Other communities, such as Williston and South Burlington, also frequently monitor or post comments on Front Porch Forum…