Below is an excerpt from my latest LongmeadowBiz newsletter that I sent to 900+ local subscribers on October 24. Little did I did I realize that within one week of sending this newsletter our town would experience one of the worst weather events to hit this region during the past 50 years and the potential value of Facebook would unveil itself.
What does Facebook mean for Longmeadow?
I believe that a Facebook community fanpage is an excellent means for sharing information. One important thing to remember is the speed at which information can be shared. Our town website at www.longmeadow.org is not staffed nor designed to be an effective communications tool.
About one year ago I developed the Longmeadow Community fanpage (facebook.com/longmeadowbiz) to demonstrate to town residents how we might be able to dramatically change how we communicate with each other.
Below is a list of some of the items that have recently been shared...
- Community/ school/ civic event flyers
- Photographs (winter, storm related, high school building progress, etc.)
- Issues of local interest via links to the LongmeadowBuzz blog (Turner Park, IT spending, etc.)
- Town Government notices
Reporting of information on Facebook (and other social media as well) is typically 15-20 minutes ahead of the traditional media reporting. This could be very important during an emergency.
The really great thing about Facebook is its ability to reach so many people so quickly. My initial target is to gain at least 1500-2000 Facebook fans for the LongmeadowBiz fanpage. Currently, there are 280 fans but the INTERACTIONS have been relatively low so the reach of the information is far below its potential. With greater INTERACTIONS by the existing fans (such as clicking on the Like icon or making a comment), the reach of the information will become much greater.
Some additional comments not included in the newsletter…
Our Connect CTY system- an automatic high speed phone system was a great asset to Longmeadow officials in communicating information to town residents during the emergency that we recently experienced. However, many residents were either not registered or were without phone service so they did not receive these important calls.
Our town website- www.longmeadow.org was not a reliable source to obtain up-to-date information through this difficult period.
The Town of East Longmeadow has an “official” Facebook fanpage. East Longmeadow’s fanpage has almost 1500 fans. A quick check of the information that was recently posted and the interactions that took place between East Longmeadow officials and their town residents easily demonstrates the value of Facebook during such an emergency situation.
Longmeadow needs a multitude of methods to communicate information especially during an emergency. What we currently use does not work. As more and more people purchase and start utilizing “smartphones” and have Internet access “in the palm of their hand”, Facebook should be considered a vital communication tool.
Please take a look at the new Longmeadow fanpage (facebook.com/longmeadowbiz) to see if the posted information is of interest to you and your friends. If it is, click on the "Like" button to become a FAN. Share information that is useful with fellow town residents.
If you are interested in receiving the LongmeadowBiz newsletter that is published about 4-6 times per year, simply visit www.LongmeadowBiz.com and use the easy signup form.