City officials to discuss social media policy in advance of Facebook page release

Locals may soon be able to officially “like” the city of La Cañada Flintridge on Facebook, or respond to city tweets online through Twitter, as officials contemplate creating a social-media presence as part of a wider communications and outreach plan.

The City Council is expected to discuss the development of a social-media policy, as well as the creation of an official Facebook page for the city of La Cañada Flintridge, at its upcoming Aug. 4 meeting.

For the past two months, city staff have worked with Tustin-based communications firm Tripepi Smith and Associates to find out more about how residents communicate and engage with one another, and how they’d prefer to interface with city news and notifications.

Ryder Todd Smith, president and co-founder of Tripepi Smith and Associates, said the firm has already brought its marketing and public affairs skills to bear in the creation of city publications, including the newly published “Tree Protection and Preservation Guidelines,” published in April.

Establishing a framework for how city officials might best take advantage of popular social-media sites, Facebook and Twitter chief among them, is another project being undertaken, Smith said Tuesday.

“The majority of cities in Los Angeles County use either Twitter or Facebook, or both,” he said. “The City Council has expressed an interest in what social media means and how it can be used to inform and engage citizens in what’s going on.”

Kevin Chun, the city’s director of administrative services, said the city wanted to take advantage of new ways to reach out and disseminate important information to the public, realizing social media is a big part of how people inform themselves today.

“Social media was identified as an obvious opportunity to communicate and connect with our residents that we have not been taking advantage of,” Chun said in an email interview.

La Cañada’s social-media policy will likely have provisions for authorizing certain staff members to post media on behalf of the city, addressing compliance with the Brown Act and guidelines for handling inappropriate public comments.

“At this point, we are developing a city Facebook page but would like to have a social-media policy in place before we make it public,” Chun said.

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