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Rockwall City Council instructs staff to investigate using Facebook, social media sites

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By J.J. Smith. The Rockwall City Council voted unanimously Nov. 16 to accept the recommendation by Council member and website development business owner Glen Farris that city staff members investigate using blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and other social media websites on the Internet so the City can better communicate with its residents.

The decision was reached after a video presentation made by Farris, who owns Adfinity.biz. , owns his own website at www.glenfarris.com, his own Facebook page and writes his own Rockwall Talks Blog.

“I’d like to explore all aspects of social media and determine which ones are appropriate for Rockwall,” he said. “Some may be and some may not, but I think that’s something we need to look at.”

Farris’ recommendations included developing policies and procedures for using social media websites, adding a blog to its Rockwall.com website, plus designating someone to proactively release information on the blog and social media sites.

Council Members Margo Nielsen, who has her own website and blog at www.MargoNielsen.com, and Cliff Sevier, who has his own Facebook site, made statements supporting Farris’ ideas.

“I think Glen’s on to something and it’s something we ought to move forward to. And I sure would like the staff to take a look at it,” Nielsen said. 

“I think this is a great deal. We should move forward,” added Sevier.

Council Member Mark Russo, who has a Facebook site, also agreed with and voted to support Farris’ recommendations.

But he suggested taking use of the Internet even further by streaming Council meetings live online, so there would be less complaints and make Council members more “responsible for our actions as representatives of the City.”

Farris agreed with Russo’s idea but urged him not to halt moving forward first with less expensive social media possibilities.

“Although I agree with the live streaming part, I don’t think you should deny moving forward with less expensive methods of social media to hold out for something more expensive like live steaming.” Farris said. “It’s a budgetary issue.”

“But we can take and start doing social media right now. By tomorrow afternoon we can have a page up. We can tell what our next events are and I agree. I understand where you’re coming from, but I don’t think you should deny something progressive like this on the back of something else,” Farris added.

Most Council members are currently using either Facebook sites, blogs or websites to communicate with family, friends and associates, but most prefer using Facebook.

Besides those listed above, Mayor Bill Cecil has a Facebook site.

Matthew Scott, who was called away early from the meeting, has his own website at www.matthewrscott.com.

No website, blog or social media site was found being used by David Sweet.

The City of Heath beat the City of Rockwall to using social media sites when it started using Twitter about two months ago, plus started communicating Oct. 23 with residents on its Facebook site.

Neither the City of Royse City nor Rockwall County currently use blogs or social media sites.

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