Metro joins social networking craze

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 11:45pm
Staff reports

The profile doesn’t include any saucy spring break pictures of Mayor Karl Dean rocking on the Redneck Riviera, but there is plenty of information to sink your teeth into on Nashville’s new Facebook page.

Metro government joined the Facebook community in mid-January to increase and diversify communication with the public. Dean officially announced the site during budget hearings Wednesday.

He said Nashville is following the lead of other cities that have become part of the social networking site.

“Facebook is an alternative online tool cities across the country are using to communicate with constituents,” Dean said. “Already we have over 1,000 people signed up as fans. I think that shows the strong interest the public has in getting updates about the programs, meetings and issues related to their local government.”

The general Metro page isn’t the only aspect of Nashville’s government joining the Facebook craze. Specific departments (Nashville Public Library, Metro Water Services, the Farmer’s Market) will post updates on events and services through individual Facebook pages. The Department of General Services is using Facebook to advertise surplus Metro equipment available to the public for purchase through eBid.

Keith Durbin, director of Metro’s ITS department, said the site can also function as a medium for public safety alerts.

“Though we hope to never use Facebook in this way ourselves, other cities have also found it to be an important way to communicate in times of disaster, whether snowstorm, tornado or earthquake,” Durbin said.

Visit Metro’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MetroNashville; It is also linked to www.nashville.gov in the top right corner.