Would you pay for Facebook? – GovLoop.com

Read the full post with comments here. Originally posted 10/3/12 at 4:54 pm.

Facebook has announced that it is starting a trial service that allows personal posts to be more visible…by paying $7.

Read the full article here on the Wall Street Journal online. (Also see within the article a link to the Facebook release.)

This service has been available for pages for a few months now, but it’s new to personal accounts. I’m thinking now we might formally begin to separate “classic” social media, whereby you connect with friends and other actual humans, and “commercial” social media where you connect with businesses. Where would government fit in?

What do you think? Is there ever a circumstance in which you’d pay for social media that has so far been free?

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Colorado Counties: Success and Challenges to New Media Use – GovLoop.com

Read the full post with comments here. Originally posted 6/21/12 at 1:30 pm

In April I wrote briefly about Commissioner Audrey Danner from Moffat County, Colorado and her efforts in using social media to connect with her constituents.

I had a chance to sit down with Commissioner Danner earlier this month at the Colorado Counties, Inc. summer conference and talk a bit more about Moffat County using Facebook and some of the challenges surrounding social media in general. Moffat County is in rural northwest Colorado. The county is almost the size of the state of Connecticut, yet has a population of only about 13,000. (Connecticut’s population….3.5 million.)

For the most part, Danner is alone in her use of Facebook at the county level. The two other county commissioners do not currently use social media tools to communicate, preferring to stick with more traditional methods for now. Though electronic communications do work for large segment of population, the commissioners feel that the kind of interactions that come from face-to-face communications still can’t be replicated online. County residents are encouraged to interact with the commissioners and have an opportunity to publicly address issues at the beginning of each commission meeting. The commissioners make other public appearances known so that residents can chat with them.

For Danner, her Facebook experience started as just a personal page a few years ago before her last campaign. She allowed citizens to be her friends online, and they got to know a bit about her. She said it made her “real” to her constituents, not just another elected official. She regularly shares county events and happenings, as well as what she does as a county commissioner, including budget meetings, economic development presentations, discussions on bringing broadband to Moffat County, etc. She sees it as an easy way for people to talk to her, make her easily accessible, encourage back and forth discussion in a more friendly manner than a formal commission meeting. The discussions on the page page are still professional, however, and if necessary she recommends discussion at county meetings or an e-mail message to discuss issues that might be better handled offline.

She is currently running for a second term as county commissioner and is considering a separate page for her upcoming reelection campaign to make the online separation between her current position and her campaign.

In the county offices, most Internet activity, especially social media, is prohibited by county staff while at work, mostly because of bandwidth issues. The biggest issue facing the county in this case, and many others like it, is rural broadband access. We talked at length about access issues gong back to the mid 1990s.

In my next piece, I will discuss rural broadband access, specifically in Colorado.

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Should Teachers and Students Be Facebook Friends? – GovLoop.com

Read the full post with comments on GovLoop. Originally posted 5/2/12 at 5:39 pm

A few weeks ago I asked in “What About the Kids?” if schools should offer online safety classes. Here’s another justification for it.


I just came across “Should Teachers and Students be Facebook Friends?” on Education Week. Right now I’m Facebook friends with a few high school teachers, one from college and a few from grad school. I suppose that I’m looking at it from an adult perspective now as I was out of high school for over 10 years by the time I joined Facebook many moons ago, but I don’t think I would have wanted to be Facebook friends with high school teachers while I was a student, even some that I liked a lot.

We’ve heard the stories about teachers inappropriately contacting students online. If you’re going to be an educator, you take on a role model status and should act appropriately. We expect that of our politicians as well. It’s upsetting to hear about the bad apples who make us question the rest of the bunch. For those who say, “well students start things too,” sure they do. Come on. It really shouldn’t be difficult for a responsible normal adult to figure that out rather quickly.

After reading the article, I might suggest something that I recommend to elected officials who want to have an online presence and still maintain a personal page for only their friends. Make a public page. Teachers can still post information, have discussions, and interact, but it would be public and professional and can be monitored. They would not need to “friend” students, and students’ personal posts would not show up in the teacher’s feed. (Depending on how strict a district’s rules are that might still be a violation, though.) A combination of a public page and online safety classes from the school might be a good way for students to learn how to properly navigate online and at the same time, help teachers keep a “safe” distance from their students while connecting.

Is there a way for teachers and students to safely be Facebook friends?

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