Stillwater News Press

June 18, 2013

City of Stillwater uses social media to deliver news, updates to residents

By Nick Woodruff
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater is using social media to deliver city news and updates immediately.

Sherry Fletcher, director of marketing and public relations for the city of Stillwater, said the use of social media for city updates started approximately two years ago. The city uses social media to keep residents updated with the latest news.

The city of Stillwater’s Twitter account, @StillwaterOKgov, has 1,577 followers and has more than 2,600 Tweets.  

“We really want people to know that if there is a really short turnaround or announcement, we will post it on social media,” Fletcher said. “If we post it on the website, it would sometimes take longer and social media seems to be better for short-term problems.”

Fletcher said short-term problems could include water leaks and road construction. Not only could social media be used for short-term items but also long-term goals, too.

Long-term goals would be informing residents of items such as paying utilities online, paying tickets online, city agendas and press releases. People should be able to get immediate updates as quickly as possible through social media, Fletcher said.

Residents also can obtain information about the city, especially during normal work hours, she said. A person can ask a question through social media, such as Twitter or Facebook, and most of the time it should be promptly answered, “a two-way conversation,” Fletcher said.

Delivering information and having the ability to have a two-way conversation is not the only benefits of social media, but also the ability to get updates on emergency issues such as the weather, she said.

The emergency management department realized instead of using the city’s Twitter account it should create its own.

“The emergency management created a Twitter and Facebook account just for storms,” Fletcher said. “So a lot of people looked at their feed because of power outages and satellites going out, and they used the feed to see where the storm is and what kind of damage we think is happening.”

Residents interested in following the Twitter accounts can log onto stillwater.org. Residents also do not have to follow the accounts on Twitter because the feeds are updated automatically on stillwater.org, Fletcher said.

People have reacted in a positive manner to the social media usage of the city and Fletcher said it is something it will continue to utilize.

“People are finding social media and the immediacy of it helpful,” Fletcher said. “I feel people use to consider it a luxury and now I think it has become a tool and is the go-to for information.”