Social media enthusiasts can expect fewer live Twitter and Facebook updates from Metro Council members during meetings.
Council attorney Jon Cooper informed members that “twittering,” text-messaging and other forms of Internet-updating might violate Tennessee’s open meetings act. He didn’t offer an official legal opinion on the matter, only advice.
Over the past year, online tools have been popular devices for a handful of members to offer unfiltered accounts of Council proceedings to their constituents. Among those who have turned to Twitter is East Nashville Councilman Erik Cole, who said he would oblige Cooper’s recommendation.
“Basically they’re advising us to not do any sort of social media communications on the floor during meetings,” Cole said. “It’s tied to two aspects of the open meetings act.”
For starters, Cole said live updates on the social media website Facebook, for example, are not accessible to the entire public. The other point raised by legal counsel, he said, involves questions over officially notifying the public on social media updates.
“The crux of it is around deliberation,” Cole said. “It’s just so you’re not [using Twitter, Facebook or text-messaging] to deliberate over substantive matters on the floor, which honestly I don’t think anybody’s ever done.”