Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks

As an elected official, it’s my job to connect to my constituents. There are always mailers, signs in the yard, and good old fashioned phone calls, but in today’s world, we have Facebook, Twitter, blogs and many other similar websites and tools. The increased use of social media in our constantly connected world has presented certain challenges for local officials, especially those of us just getting the hang of our email. Thankfully, I have Jed, the designated young person on my staff, who *patiently* walks me through these things.

We started my adventure into social media with my blog, Nancy At Large, then delved into Facebook, and are now beginning our foray with Twitter. While it’s taken some time for me to get used to all the new technology, I’ve embraced it. The challenge for many of those young staffers designated as our social media gurus, is getting their bosses on board.

Those of us of a certain age can easily get intimidated by new technologies and not necessarily see the benefits they can bring us. When I launched my Facebook profile, I wasn’t expecting to find my long lost Swedish cousins, but there they were. For us folks just getting on board, when a staffer says, “Let’s set you up with a blog, Facebook profile, and Twitter account!” we hear, “Let’s add three more things I have to worry about!” At first, I didn’t realize I could post to my blog, which would automatically share with my Facebook or send out a tweet that would update my status.

Each different form of media that I use creates another way for my constituents to gain access to me. They can add me as a friend, subscribe to the blog, or follow my tweets. I love reading the comments my friends and followers leave me, and they like having their representatives accessible. I was astonished at how many more channels of communication were opened up between my constituents and me, and I value them every day.