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All ClayCo cities must embrace social media

Curt Yeomans

Curt Yeomans

One of Clayton County’s cities gave me a headache on Twitter this week.

I was tweeting out the link to the story I did on Morrow’s new city council members Wednesday when I realized the City of Morrow did not have a Twitter account that I could link in my tweet.

To my horror, I discovered four of Clayton County’s cities do not have a presence on Twitter, which is a key social media tool used these days in marketing and promotions. That’s right. As unthinkable as it may be, Forest Park, Jonesboro, Lake City and Morrow are not on Twitter.

Like, OMG, y’all.

And they are not on Facebook either, it appears.

Double OMG with a frowning face, y’all.

Why isn’t there a “dislike” button for this?

The Morrow Tourism and Business Association, which does all of the city’s big events, is on Facebook. That at least kinda makes up for the lack of official Facebook and Twitter accounts for the city.

However, here are some towns with similar names that are on either Twitter, Facebook or both: Jonesboro, Ark.; Jonesboro, La.; Jonesborough, Tenn.; Lake City, Fla.; Lake City, Mich.; Lake City, S.C.; Lake City, Colo.; Lake City, Minn.; Lake City, Tenn., and Lake City, Penn.

More locally, residents of College Park, Lovejoy and Riverdale can find their cities on social media websites and learn about community events. Clayton County government has its own Facebook and Twitter accounts as well.

Someone has created a “Forest Park GA” Twitter account, but it does not appears to be an official city account. Instead, it appears to promote someone’s posts on blogtalkradio.com and the last tweet — which was critical of the city’s government — was sent out more than a year and a half ago.

To Forest Park’s credit, however, the city’s police and fire departments do have Twitter accounts so they can distribute public safety information to residents. Now, if only there was an official city account to disseminate information about festivals and other community events.

There has been talk recently about Clayton County and its cities needing to do more to promote themselves. That was even a recommendation of the Comprehensive Economic Development Plan conducted by Georgia Tech last year.

For some cities, the focus for some reason seems to be primarily on a single website for each respective municipality.

Child, 1995 called and it wants its “One dotcom for everything” mentality back. The calender has reached 2014 now. If you are going to promote yourselves and what you’ve got going on, you’ve got to at least be on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram. The newest video-sharing social media website, Vine, will probably be on that list soon as well.

It’s like the new cosmic law of the universe. Thou shall wither without social media. Let’s just say if Jesus came back tomorrow, one of the first things he’d probably do is set up a Twitter account and YouTube channel.

The sad part is that it’s not like there is a financial barrier stopping the city’s from jumping head first into social media. We are talking about free, easy-to-obtain accounts that kindergartners could figure out.

You don’t even have to hire people to handle these accounts. You have mayors and city hall staff and it only takes two seconds to post something on social media so we’re not talking about something that would prevent officials and staff from dealing with pressing city business.

It would be a nice, modern supplement to phone trees. In fact, speaking of phone trees, is this seriously still a primary way of getting information out to citizens?I know there are still some people from an older generation who do not use social media, but come on.

Jonesboro does have young residents as well. They should form an angry mob and march in the streets while holding up smart phones with apps that show images of pitchforks and torches.

They should be screaming, “Where are my city text message alerts? Why can’t I find information about the city’s Christmas Bazaar and Parade on a JonesboroGA Facebook page? When will city hall tweet the summer concert series dates?”

They should then demand a Starbucks be built in the city, at the corner of North Avenue and Tara Boulevard because, let’s be honest, it makes sense for one to be built there since it’s like the epicenter of the county.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time for all of Clayton County’s cities to join the 21st century.

It is 2014, after all.