Why Twitter? Why blog?


In November 2007, the Linn County Board of Supervisors (BOS) commissioned their fourth Study of Citizen Satisfaction with County ServicesNearly half of those surveyed describe themselves as “not at all familiar” with the BOS [p12].  In fact, those surveyed were less familiar with the BOS in 2007 than in 2000 [p13].  I have to assume the same downward trend applies to the other County Officers.

 

While 82% [p14] of those surveyed get their news about the BOS from newspapers, 20% [p38] of those surveyed have visited http://www.linncounty.org and 30% [p19] of them would prefer to learn more about the County via a web site.  Keep in mind that the BOS paid for this survey and some of the questions are specific to the BOS; whereas, others apply to general County operations.

 

My purpose in Twittering and blogging is to keep the online public and media informed of the day-to-day activities being performed by me, by my deputies, and by my staff.   

 

Over the last two years, I’ve discovered that the public does not fully understand County government nor do they fully understand the individual offices and departments that comprise County government.  When you read the online comments on local news stories, you will notice that a number of writers confuse and misuse the words “city” and “county” on a frequent basis. 

 

The public seems to understand the roles of mayors, governors, and presidents.  Many don’t understand the roles of county auditor, recorder, and treasurer.  And I doubt they know the difference between the county attorney and the city attorney or between the county sheriff and police chief.  But those positions are different and they will remain different unless the laws of the State are changed.

 

I could rant and rave about the lack of civics classes in schools and colleges as the reason for a lack of understanding by the public, but as my wife frequently reminds me:  “it is what it is”.

 

I don’t like “what it is” and my goal is to try to inform/educate/cajole the public into understanding more about my office, county government, and government in general.  I’m going to continue to work on this goal … even if I have to do it one tweet at a time.

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2 Responses to “Why Twitter? Why blog?”

  1. Eric Says:

    I’m one of those people that would not know what was going on in the county without your Twitter and Blog. So much focus is put on the national and state level that people forget there is a local level. Having our elected officials reach out in a different way brings the local level events closer to the voters. If they stay informed they will be more likely to act and get involved with the local govt process.

    Thanks for using these tools. The next generation of voters is going to be even more connected to the internet than us. You are setting the bar high for other officials to notice and follow.

    Like

  2. lcauditor Says:

    Dear Eric,

    Thank you! Your words are an incentive for me to continue blogging and tweeting.

    In December, this blog had 866 visits; in January 2198; and 818 visits since the beginning of February. At present, I have 187 followers on Twitter.

    Thank you for your interest in local government!

    Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    Best regards,

    Joel

    Like

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