News & Views

PS Principal Addresses Emerging Media Conferences

Last week, Pacific Strategies principal Matthew Cunningham participated in two panel discussions on the role of emerging media in politics, policy and governance.

On Wednesday, Cunningham was part of a RightOnline panel in Sacramento, organized by Americans for Prosperity as part of a training seminar to teach activists how to harness emerging media tools like blogs, FaceBook and Twitter to advance their causes.

On Friday, Cunningham joined IHateTheMedia.com founder Jim DeYong and others to speak to the California Women’s Leadership Association about the impact of emerging media, and offer insights into how to interact with blogs and other emerging media actors on the political stage.

Cunningham is a regularly invited to address conferences, luncheons and other events on topics related to emerging media. If your organization is considering including an emerging media segment or element to a future conference or event, Cunningham is available to speak, or assist in planning the program.

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City of Santa Clarita Embraces Social Media

Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Pulskamp penned this column for PublicCEO.com, discussing how using social media has not only improved communications with residents, but  increased their positive  interaction with city government while saving money:

Sites like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter, initially geared towards the individual user and subsequently embraced by the private sector, are beginning to realize their potential for ushering new degrees of transparency, accessibility and participation in the public sector as well.

An early adopter in the use of social networking tools, Santa Clarita constantly explores different ways to leverage the use of these technologies to reach our residents.  A recent recipient of the 3CMA Award of Excellence for Social Networking, Santa Clarita’s management of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts allow us to interact with our residents and push content for a variety of purposes.  The City regularly uses social media to make City documents readily available for public review, to clarify decisions or provide correct information, as well as to promote City-sponsored events, programs and project status.

As our residents and people throughout the expanding local community become more comfortable with broadband and mobile technologies, the manner in which people want to receive their information will also change.  More than ever, social media technologies have supplanted “traditional” print advertising as the preferred and most cost effective way to reach municipal consumers.

Embracing the use of these technologies saves cities like Santa Clarita tens of thousands of dollars each year.

Leading the way in the City’s social media efforts in terms of effectiveness and sheer number of users is Twitter.  Santa Clarita’s Twitter account currently has over 1,200 followers and is growing every day.  Information such as noticed public meetings, City-sponsored events, press releases, emergency updates and road closures are synthesized to 140 characters and posted daily on our Twitter feed.

You can read the rest of Ken Pulskamp’s article here.

Santa Clarita doesn’t possess magical knowledge of social media. Rather, their city government wasn’t shy about experimenting with these vaulable, inexpensive tools and discovering their benefits — both expected and unexpected — as cost-saving public engagement tools.

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Local Government 2.0 Uses Social Media To Communicate With Public

As this PublicCEO.com article makes clear, social media — deployed wiesley and with proper guidance — is a win-win for local government and their constituents:

What do your constituents do when they have a question about an upcoming city council meeting or motorcycle training?

In Santa Clarita (@santaclarita), anyone can email “Mayor Dude” Frank Ferry (@Mayordude), follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook.

The city is one of a growing list of wired municipalities connecting to citizens young and old through social media. While not every administrator will feel comfortable hosting live chats or Tweeting “is hungry. Join me for lunch today at Taste of Town,” Government 2.0 is going viral.

In the northern part of the state, the City of Santa Clara (@santaclaracity) Tweets everything from notices about RFPs for tennis and sport court resurfacing projects to summer employment opportunities and Swine Flue updates.

Why the sudden interest in Twitter, Facebook, Wikis, LinkedIn and Flickr?

Rob Quigly (@RobQuigley), a Sacramento Web site developer and New Media Director for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who specializes in creation and management of government Web sites, explains the transition from Gov. 1.0 (putting up a web page to post council agendas) to Gov. 2.0 as a transition from digital archive to a two-way communication tool.

Citizens can express opinions, ask questions and get answers in real time.

That immediacy has also proved helpful in getting information out quickly in emergency situations. Whether it is Swine Flu updates, earthquake warnings, missing child reports or road closures, a single post can reach thousands of people quickly and efficiently.

Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Pulskamp has three goals for social media.

“Social networking allows the city to communicate directly with our residents and business community to ensure that the information provided is accurate, timely and relevant.”

Pulskamp says he is simply meeting expectations by running his own YouTube channel.

You can read the rest of the articled here.

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