Elected officials need blogs

I was talking to a member of the Sanford City Council this week about a number of issues in the city, and it occurred to me that if our councilmen, mayor, school board members and other officials went more public with their ideas — say, in the form of an online journal — residents here would be so much more informed.
Most of the news staff at The Herald has “gone viral” with online blogs in the past six months, and each week, we’re finding more and more local people visiting our sites. On days when we talk about issues like the election, taxes or crime, our site visits see a spike.
Currently, I know of only one official in Lee County with a blog, Sheriff Tracy Carter. His site is used mostly to keep people up to date on arrests and investigations. He updates a few times a week, and it’s a popular site.
Imagine if more of our leaders shook hands with the 21st century and developed a dialogue with their constituents like this.
Back in October, I suggested those running for office in November publish their platforms online, and at least one did (and he lost, so really, what do I know?). Still, I think we should take it a step further.
The Internet’s not going away any time soon. It’s a shame we’re not at least trying to put it to good use.


4 thoughts on “Elected officials need blogs

  1. Billy – Great idea! I have been working with several middle school teachers about using blogs with their students. We are starting slowly by first making wikis, but I am encouraged by the response.

    I have been blogging for over a year and have enjoyed it immensely. I currently have two blogs – one that shares web 2.0o sites with educators and the other is more of a personal/professional blog.

    We MUST get more adults on board if we are to connect with our young people. Thanks for helping with the “push”. I have enjoyed reading the bogs of the reporters from Sanford Herald.

    Danita Russell

  2. What a great idea. I would be nice to have the ability to talk to public officials and be able to say what you need to without the time limit given at the one and only open meeting the city council has each month. I agree all of the public officials should have a blog so their voters can make their voice heard. It is wrong to allow us to only voice our opinion once at election then to ignore us the rest of the time.
    Hope they get online…
    tammy hebert

  3. A hearty “Amen” to this. When I lived in Winston-Salem the idea was presented to the City Council and they all said they would do it. Only one actually did but it died after 3-4 posts. And he is no longer in office.

    I remember when I started blogging. I thought there was never anything to blog about. Sometimes I still feel that way. But I have to believe an elected official would never run out of ideas. At least if they posted 1-2 times per week.

    The city leaders could blog on how they propose to cut spending and lower the high tax rate we have in Sanford (and Lee County in general). I would start by reducing bulk item pick up to quarterly (or even twice a year?) rather than every week. How much would that save in labor costs, gas, etc? In my last city they only picked it up once a year!

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