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Archive for Wednesday, April 1, 2009

County elections clerk embracing social media to get out the vote

April 1, 2009

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It was a short message Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew posted on Friday through the micro-blogging Web site, Twitter.

The county’s top elections official was lamenting the expected low voter turnout in Tuesday’s city and school board elections compared to the November’s presidential election.

“It is interesting that within minutes of my simple ‘tweets’ regarding low voter turnout, reporters called for follow up,” Shew wrote Tuesday in a Journal-World interview conducted through Twitter — or a “Twitter-view.”

Shew’s participation on the popular social-networking Web site is part of his strategy to expand how his office spreads information about elections in new formats.

Recently, he and his staff members have started posting messages on Twitter reminding Douglas County voters that advance voting was open this week at the courthouse, 1100 Mass.

“Social media seems to be able to spread messages quickly across multiple domains,” Shew said.

His office also has been looking at ways to expand its communication reach, especially when his budget is limited.

“Governments have to start thinking outside the bricks and mortar of the courthouse to create contact points in the new information age,” he said.

Shew is working on developing a more concrete plan before the 2010 elections, and he considers the use of Twitter the first step. Other examples could include audio podcasts on the department's Web site.

“I think all of us, including traditional media, are trying to discover how to use this new tool to enhance our connection with the public,” Shew said.

Comments

5 years, 8 months ago

Broken link "on the department's Web site"

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