City hopes to better connect with public
DECATUR — The city of Decatur has turned to social media to reach residents, concentrating recently on Facebook and Twitter in addition to traditional communication methods.
Assistant City Manager Billy Tyus is one of the city officials behind Decatur’s social networking. He said the city is hoping to regain “likes” after a change in Facebook policies forced it to delete its old page, with more than 1,600 followers, and start a new one.
The new page had 26 likes as of Monday. The city’s Twitter account, @AccessDecatur, was performing better with 487 followers.
“Everybody’s involved with social media right now, and since it’s become more popular, it represents a way for us to connect directly with people. The immediacy of it is really great,” Tyus said.
Residents can make comments or ask questions through the social networks, making the communication a two-way street. For example, Tyus and City Manager Ryan McCrady were able to respond on the city’s Facebook page to questions about the city’s response to a severe winter storm several years ago.
Other information on the Twitter and Facebook pages includes scheduled road closures, pictures of happenings during Decatur City Council meetings or progress on the downtown streetscape projects and links to city news releases and the council meetings’ agendas.
“We will always utilize traditional media … but you also have to make sure that you’re doing these other things as well. One doesn’t replace the other,” Tyus said.
Tyus emphasized that people should still contact police or fire in an emergency situation.