Angus MacDonald backs campaign for Falkirk Council to have Facebook presence

Grangemouth SNP Councillor Angus MacDonald has backed a campaign calling on Falkirk Council to start a Facebook page on the social media website to broaden and improve the way Falkirk Council distributes information, particularly in the winter period when residents are looking for information quickly on school closures, road and footpath gritting and other council services.

The campaign has started following the revelation that Falkirk Council is the only local authority in Forth Valley not to use the social networking site to distribute information.

Councillor MacDonald, who is also the SNP candidate for Holyrood at the next Scottish Parliament election said:

“Our two neighbouring authorities in Forth Valley, (Stirling and Clackmannanshire) and West Lothian Council, have all embraced the new social media technology to distribute press releases, weather updates, school closures and information on other council services. Sadly however, Falkirk Council is lagging behind. While the Council does succesfully provide information through its own website and on local radio station Central FM, we must constantly look at embracing all forms of media technology to get our message out promptly to the general public, and Facebook is a platform to do just that."

Cllr MacDonald continued:

“I have written to the Council’s Chief Executive asking her to look at the creation of a Facebook page in the near future, which would have the added benefit of reaching younger residents of Falkirk district that other forms of communication don’t. At times of severe weather disruption for example, local residents are hungry for up-to-the-minute information and a Facebook page would provide a much quicker way of delivering such information, while helping to reduce demand on the Council’s call centre and other staff.”

The introduction to the campaign on Facebook, which can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Falkirk-Council-needs-Social-Media/123403117724039 reads:

“Whether councils like it or not, the constituents are interacting with each other using a wide range of social media tools. Now is the time for local government to start using social media as an integral part of their communications mix.

West Lothian and Stirling councils are leading the way with the Facebook generation while Falkirk relies on Neolithic, traditional communications methods. These old-hat methods reach declining audiences, while effective advertising campaigns for councils are expensive and can struggle to deliver messages to increasingly marketing-savvy audiences.

It’s time that leaders at Falkirk Council grabbed hold of these media tools including blogs, podcasts and social networks to reach the growing number of technically minded constituents, who are thirsty for up-to-the-minute information.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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