On August 1, 2014, Minnesota’s Open Meeting Law was amended to guide the use of social media by elected officials:
[13D.065] USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
The use of social media by members of a public body does not violate this chapter so long as the social media use is limited to exchanges with all members of the general public. For purposes of this section, e-mail is not considered a type of social media.
As a consultant who specializes in online citizen engagement, I was excited to see this change. It has seemed to me that elected public officials in Minnesota have been generally reluctant to participate in online public policy-oriented discussions out of fear that a violation of the open meeting could occur.
I’ve launched a citizen engagement site for the City of Northfield, as I’ve started working on two more online engagement projects for them this fall, both with Northfield’s Engineering Division, led by Director of Public Works/City Engineer Joe Stapf and his team:
Like I did for the City of Edina’s Citizen Engagement projects in 2011-12 (that’s a link to all my blog posts about it), I’ve created the site with WordPress Multisite so that it’s easy to launch new projects as the need arises.
A good chunk of my time this spring and summer has been devoted to two citizen engagement projects here in my hometown of Northfield that are now winding down: the Northfield School District’s calendar conversation and the City of Northfield’s parking management plan for downtown.
Both projects involved a significant amount of blogging about all the face-to-face meetings, both committees and large public gathering. I’m more convinced than ever about the importance of this complementarity… the subject of a longer blog post that I’m working on.
I’ve created a new blog called Engage Citizens as I’m shifting more of my consulting work to helping local units of government (state, cities, counties, townships, school districts) use online tools and services to—you guessed it—engage citizens.
I’ve been doing online citizen engagement as a citizen since the early 90’s in my work with Northfield.org and continuing with Locally Grown Northfield since 2006 where I’m still active.
But it was my consulting contract with City Manager Scott Neal and the City of Edina back in April of 2011 when we created the Edina Citizen Engagement project that helped me see how other local units of government could benefit from something similar.
I’ve been hired by Northfield Public Schools Superintendent Chris Richardson to manage the online portion of a community discussion about school calendars.
Like their Transformational Technology project, it’s happening on a blog that’s part of the District’s WordPress Multiuser platform.
I’ve put up a project blogsite: A school calendar conversation with the Northfield community. The first community meeting is tonight.
I’m working with Superintendent Chris Richardson and Matt Hillmann, Director of Human Resources and Technology at the Northfield Public Schools District. They’re using my online citizen engagement services to get additional public feedback on the Transformational Technology proposal that’s now being considered by the School Board.
It’s happening on a blog that’s part of the District’s WordPress Multiuser platform:
Transformational Technology for Northfield Public Schools, ISD #659
I did a half-day version of my Blogging and Social Media for Leaders presentation at the League of Minnesota Cities’ Leadership Conference for Experienced Officials at Brooklyn Center yesterday.
Here’s my Powerpoint, slightly revised from the previous one in Mankato and the one in Nisswa.
Blogging and social media for leaders – Brooklyn Center version.
I also created a ‘cheat sheet’ for this session:Miscellaneous tips for Leadership Blogging and Social Media
I did a half-day version of my Blogging and Social Media for Leaders presentation at the League of Minnesota Cities’ Leadership Conference for Experienced Officials at Mankato. Photo above left is LMC Executive Director Jim Miller at last night’s banquet. Here’s my Powerpoint, slightly revised from the one I did two weeks ago in Nisswa.
I did a half-day version of my Blogging and Social Media for Leaders presentation at the League of Minnesota Cities’ Leadership Conference for Experienced Officials at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, MN this weekend.
My colleague, Ted Davis (Davis Communications) did his presentation titled, Avoiding the Crisis Management Circus Through Communications Planning presentation on Friday afternoon. I did mine, titled Taming the New Media Beast: Networking and Communicating with Social Media on Saturday morning.
Later this winter (Feb/March) I’ll be offering an online course, Blogging and Social Media for Leaders: Leveraging Your Influence in a Hyper-Connected World.
If you’d like to be alerted when course registration opens, subscribe to my free Social Media for Leaders email list.