The Morehead City council recently approved a new communications director position within city government to help facilitate much needed information transparency between different department and residents in an effort keep the public informed during crisis events like Hurricane Florence even though this position is something many in city government have talked about for awhile. The position is not just for emergency situations and would also be used for information transfer regarding other areas such a traffic problems, sanitation, and water outages as examples.
According to information received from the city council meeting on Tuesday, November 13th, 2018, this position will answer to the current city manager and Morehead City looks to start the process of reviewing applicants for this position immediately with the hopes of hiring the new director by February 2019.
In looking at this new communications plan, any applicant for this new position will have to have an extensive background in managing different social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube. All research shows that these 4 social media verticals will cover about 80% of city residents. Although, we do have concerns about social media for which we will discuss below.
For those not on social media, or ones who do not monitor social media daily, text messaging is technology that was shown to stay operational even during Hurricane Florence and will be a great additional resource for communications.
Additionally, the ability to understand blogging, HTML programming, and website maintenance and upgrades will be skills necessary for this position. If the city website is part of a content management system, then the new director will need to understand use of that technology as well along with SQL maintenance and upgrades.
For those residents not technology inclined, a routine print publication will have to be developed by which residents can get information either by email or postal mail.
Concerns About Social Media
Although a large percentage of Morehead City NC residents use social media daily, not all posts made to groups and pages are seen by users who like a certain group or page because all social media outlets filter the number of posts seen. This will require the new communications director to either rely on viral sharing or boost posts made via city controlled social media.
A potential fix for this situation is for the city to maintain it’s own social network much like the one we have on this site. This will allow the new communications director to have total control of what information is seen which is critical in emergency situations.
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