City forms a social media policy

As municipality goes ever deeper online, they needed some rules of the road

With the increasing popularity of social media, the City of Parksville is looking to formalize its use.

Council is reviewing a new policy outlining the continued use of social media to provide information and interact with the public.

The city, which has a strong online presence, has used Twitter since July 2009 and now also uses Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest, a photo sharing site.

Communications officer Debbie Tardiff, who wrote the staff report to council, said the city’s social media goal will be to grow as an online source for information about the city’s mission, issues, news, meetings, activities and events.

The draft policy defines social media as “the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue.”

All social media is to be administered by the communications officer or designate and reviewed by the director of administrative services.

The policy spells out guidelines with an extensive list of inappropriate content including — random or unintelligible comments or anything not related to the original topic, profanity, personal attacks, threats, discrimination, solicitations or anything for or against political campaigns.

The Facebook section further breaks down that social media is not the best emergency contact for the city and all content must be “family friendly.”

It includes a list of prohibitions against any content (images, text or links) that contain racial, religious or ethnic slurs or jokes, anything sexual, disturbing, illegal or infringing on copyrights or trademarks.

There was little discussion among council other than to confirm the extra work of policing Twitter and Facebook has not been too big of a new task for the communications officer.

With mayor Chris Burger and Coun. Al Greir absent, the rest of council unanimously supported the draft policy.