Mayor Jeanette McCarthy said this week she is open to expanding the city's use of social media platforms to distribute information to its residents but cautioned against potential pitfalls.
"We can't go into it blind. But, we have to look into it,” McCarthy said during a Tuesday, Nov. 13 meeting of the city's E-Committee at City Hall.
McCarthy made the comments in response to City Councilor Robert Logan's resolution to beef up the city's use of social media to communicate with residents. The discussion come amidst continuing complaints by city officials and residents that the city has not adequately communicated crucial information to them. For example, the city failed to notify residents of whether trash pickup would be delayed on the day of Hurricane Sandy.
Now, McCarthy said she would like to the city expand use of social media, but must first implement a comprehensive program. She said each department would need a full-time employee to operate social media and would need training and policies to follow. Any social media policy would have to potential legal liability issues and oversight of employees to make sure they are correctly operating their accounts, McCarthy said.
"I got to make sure who is going to use it and how it is used,” she said.
Currently, city departments are supposed to forward any info they went distributed on to the public to the city's 911 emergency center, which operates @Waltahm911Disp Twitter account, according to McCarthy. Also, the Waltham Police and Waltham Fire departments both use Twitter to disseminate information to residents and media.
Logan agreed with McCarthy saying accounts would need to be monitored but stressed the city needs to improve its overall communication with residents and use social media to do it.