District of Maple Ridge wants ‘likes’

Starts Facebook and Twitter accounts,but some concerned about staff time

District of Maple Ridge wants ‘likes’

The District of Maple Ridge is now on Facebook and Twitter.

After mulling over it for months, staff have finally created a page on the website, hoping to tap into the online phenomena that draws more than 540 million unique visitors per month, or 35.2 percent of the Internet population.

For now, the district has set some modest goals and hopes to achieve 1,000 “likes” by September 2012. So far, 74 people have clicked on.

District staff will be posting a minimum of 10 status updates a week and one photo gallery per month.

“The real key is to reach out to the most engaged citizens,” said district director of communications Fred Armstrong.

“Twitter has great potential for use in emergency operations.”

Council, though, is worried the social media foray will saddle time-crunched staff with another seemingly unnecessary task.

“I see this becoming a real full-time position,” said coun. Judy Dueck, who was concerned that the Facebook page could be monopolized by people who will be seeking council seats in the upcoming civic election.

“It’s really important that the municipality stay unbiased and neutral,” she added.

The district intends to use the medium to alert residents to events and information about municipal services from property taxes to public hearings.

Craig Speirs, one of the six councillors who has a fairly active online presence, welcomed the venture.

“You’ve got to remember this is all about communication,” he said.

“It’s interactive.”

Coun. Al Hogarth hoped the district’s Facebook and Twitter presence doesn’t mean they’ll be shifting virtual service.

“There’s nothing like a real person,” he said.

Follow:

• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yourmapleridge

• Twiiter: @YourMapleRidge