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Using Social Media For Urban Planning Projects


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The presentation was recently given at the NCTAPA, Focus North Texas symposium and the Texas APA Annual Conference in Austin 2011.

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Using Social Media For Urban Planning Projects

  1. 1. Using Social MediaAlexis Massaro AICPSenior PlannerJacobsDallas TX Focus North Texas January 13, 2012
  2. 2. Agenda Who uses social media and why is it a useful tool? How to use social media tools as part of your projects? Examples of where social media is being used and how it was successful. Briefly talk about lessons learned.
  3. 3. Social media is a b r o a d ,interactive network
  4. 4. Social Media Users Ages 18-35; Ages 12-25 tend to use more mobile social media tools (texting and apps). The main social media users used to be teens and young adults, has shifted in the last two years. Increasing among 35 and over. More women are using social networks than men.
  5. 5. Useful Communication Tool Interaction is embedded in to their platforms. Promotes discussions and easy way to collect notes. Increased collaboration and transparency. Social networking has the ability to disseminate information in a very timely manner.
  6. 6. How To Use Social Media First a strategy is needed Start with a project website. This remains as the hub for all other social networking. It can be piggybacked on the cities official website or directly part of it. From there the project team can decided which social media sites to engage.
  7. 7. Social Media’s BIG Four Facebook – 92% MySpace – 29% LinkedIn – 18% Twitter – 13 % Facebook and Twitter users are engaged more on a daily basis than MySpace or LinkedIn*Pew Internet Life Project – June 2011
  8. 8. TOP Two Facebook and Twitter, the best in terms of engaging your community. Facebook has evolved from a popular college forum to a place to “help people communicate more effectively” (FB Factsheet) Both are becoming increasingly popular among business, organizations and cities.
  9. 9. Facebook 800 Million active users. More and more cities and organizations are bolstering their communications effort and their transparency through Facebook. Examples - City of Austin, City of Dallas, City of Houston, City of McKinney, City of Frisco, City of Leander, City of Rowlett, etc.
  10. 10. Twitter 140 characters Averages almost 50 million tweets per day “Tweets” are being housed in the Library of Congress. They constitute a part of the “universal body of human knowledge”. Follow friends, colleagues, companies, organizations, etc. in order to filter news and information based on interests.
  11. 11. Using Facebook and Twitter Easy to create an account and then link other accounts. Easy to upload images, draft plans, and photos. Do not need an IT degree. Twitter search is also powerful. Provides anyone interested or living in your city to find out about the project. Both sites create a timeline of the project.
  12. 12. Realize Rowlett 2020 The city’s update to its comprehensive plan. We created a project website, project logo, as well as FB, Twitter and Linkedin accounts for the project.
  13. 13. Realize Rowlett 2020 - Facebook We used FB in a variety of ways for the project. We posted all community meetings and events to the Facebook page. Ahead of the events we would use the site to gain interest for the events by posting questions or a conducting a short poll. We uploaded photos from the events.
  14. 14. Realize Rowlett 2020 - Twitter At each community workshop or charrette we encouraged participants with smartphones or laptops to post comments on FB and Twitter – during the event. We developed a special hashtag for people to use that were commenting and tweeting live during the events. #rowlett, #rrc2020
  15. 15. Realize Rowlett 2020 - Events The participants madegeneral comments and postedpictures on sites during theevents. We had a table setupdedicated to SM accounts socitizens could become morefamiliar. Invited middle schools studentsto participate as well. They werevery active on the FB pages.
  16. 16. More For Loop 1604 – San Antonio Loop 1604 utilized social media as part of the project Streamed all meetings to website Developed Social Media “How To” Guide
  17. 17. More For Loop 1604 - Disclaimer
  18. 18. City of South Pasadena - Facebook City used FB to gain feedback and comments on their Updated Bicycle Master Plan.
  19. 19. City of Tacoma - Twitter Specific use for Twitterto report potholes Encouraging opendialogue
  20. 20. Los Angeles - Twitter Carmageddon wasclosure of the 405Interstate in LA thissummer. Many businesseswere forced to closeduring the two dayperiod. And manyresidents were stuckat home andlandlocked. "Twitter is a way to reach that whole demographic (Millennial) that could be oblivious to the 405 closure," said an LAPD spokesman.
  21. 21. Disaster and Emergency Management Twitter - being used mostly as aninformational source with speed and newsbeing paramount. Facebook - tend to be more of a placefor public discussion and community buildingwith more depth (ie. multi-media) andemotional involvement often for averagecitizens. In a crisis, the two platforms will be usedsimilarly to distribute and solicit emergencyinformation.
  22. 22. Pros of Social Media Opportunity for immediate feedback. People and processes more visible. Increases participation by wider audience, namely younger adults. Can lead to a more personalized connection with citizens. Cost-effective . Increased collaboration.
  23. 23. Cons of Social Media Some local governments have banned sites. Fear among top officials that social media will open up more criticism. New content and engaging materials is required. Important not to let your sites “die”. Viewed as fluff and not productive. Not the same as getting feedback in person through meetings and charrettes.
  24. 24. Lessons Learned Understand who your target audience is and where they are already engaging. Strategy is necessary, use sites where most comfortable. Keep dialogue flowing and seed productive conversations. Facebook’s Fan Page dashboard provides statistics and Twitter analytics can measure engagement levels of your tweets. Technology is the vehicle but the message is still critically important.
  25. 25. Conclusions Organizations and local governments are increasingly using social media sites, for organizing around place-based planning issues. Provides the ability to conduct outreach at a new and exciting level. Strong community support produces better plans.
  26. 26. We’re Adjourned Thank you for participating!Alexis.massaro@jacobs.comTwitter - awomanworks Focus North Texas January 13, 2012