By Megan McDonnell
Entirely East Lansing
East Lansing City Manager George Lahanas introduced a new social media marketing campaign during a joint meeting between the East Lansing Public School Board and City Council on March 31.
East Lansing is now operating its own hashtag, #EastLansing, on various forms of social media.
A hashtag is something used on social media websites, such as Twitter, and is a word or phrase that is accompanied with a hash sign (#) to link messages on a certain topic.
“So what this does is … show everybody who has an interest in following the city, what different venues (it’s) available on,” said Lahanas.
The City of East Lansing’s Internal Communication Department, according to Lahanas, created this “little nifty marketing piece” in an effort to increase public interaction with the city.
Mayor Nathan Triplett said that this is an attempt to try to increase dialogue between city residents and the local government.
“I think it’s a really valuable way to get instant feedback from people, for them to be able to share their concerns and participate in the dialogue in a way they’re comfortable with,” said Triplett.
East Lansing City Clerk Marie Wicks said that she thinks the greater the number of ways to communicate with the public, the better.
“Obviously, social media is the way to go, especially here in college town,” said Wicks. “Hopefully, students will think to interact through the city other … than with the police. So there are good, positive ways to interact with the city.”
School Board President Nell Kuhnmuench said at the joint meeting that she is skeptical of whether the city’s social media presence will influence young people to get involved.
“I’m not sure it’s going to drive young people to get involved in politics. I’m kind of thinking young people are discerning and are not likely to follow city government on social media,” said Kuhnmuench.
In addition to the hash tag that can be used on Twitter or Facebook, East Lansing is present on the social media site Nixle.
Nixle allows the police department to send messages directly to subscribers on their phones and computers. You can sign up for Nixle on their website at http://www.nixle.com.
“I think using social media and other services is good for everyone. There’s definitely a difference between who’s coming to speak at that podium, who’s contacting the city by email and who’s expressing a concern or asking a question through social media,” said Triplett.