Social media is an issue for local government everywhere as shown by the Jackson (Mississippi) Fire Department’s recent foray into internet posting policies. A disgruntled former employee created a Facebook post with unsavory information about the Fire Department, forcing the Department into a conversation about its social media policy.

The Jackson Fire Department issued a memo on social media, while the City itself is still developing a full policy. The Department’s memo encourages employees not to: publicly discuss issues that might be detrimental to the Department or that might conflict with the duties and ethics of a firefighter; to air personal grievances; and clarify that their opinions are their own and not those of the Department.


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The Washington State Archives recently published a records management advice sheet entitled “Electronic Records Management: Blogs, Wikis, Facebook, Twitter & Managing Public Records” that provides guidance to state and local government agencies regarding the retention of public records of posts to social networking websites such as blogs, wikis, Facebook, and Twitter. 

The advice

A ‘Tweet’ OPMA violation?

Public perception counts, technical compliance may not be sufficient. Web 2.0 creates risks and challenges.

‘Tweets’ bring possible illegal meeting to light. 
Twitter Post reveal a gathering of Mukilteo
City Council members after their official meeting.

Headlines like this recent headline in the Everett Herald hurt public trust, even

Update 7/12/09

Here is another article from Florida on whether governments should use web 2.0 sites:
Attorneys, legislators to pull plug on Marco government’s use of social Web sites? Increased accessibility to candidates and officials, public records concerns among the pros and cons being considered in use of Facebook, Twitter

Update 7/7/09

Spies should also stay off Facebook:  “British spy chief outed on wife’s Facebook page


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