Modern technology has been allowing friends, family, communities and organizations stay connected in real time, which is something Placentia Mayor Wayne Power Jr. believes is beneficial for his town.
The town has arguably the most active Facebook page in the Trinity-Conception-Placentia region, and for good reason.
“We have been sharing a lot of information (online),” Power told The Compass in a phone interview Tuesday, June 8. “It is helping us reach a great number of people.”
Since municipal awareness week in May 2013, councillors and staff of the town of some 4,000 have been encouraging residents to use the Internet to receive information about town events, as well as reports and updates from different departments.
Since then, the town’s Facebook page has seen a flurry of activity and has received some 1,160 likes.
The town also has a Twitter account, which is starting to pick up as well.
“It seems very affective,” Power said.
The town has been using Facebook for two years now, but it has become more important this year, said Power.
During what many called “dark NL,” Placentia relied on social media to connect with locals.
When the town announced a state of emergency in Placentia early January, when the town’s pump station wasn’t working and the power was out, details were put on Facebook. The post was shared 36 times.
“We received good feedback on keeping residents up to date,” Power explained.
Since then, the town has begun posting daily messages, ensuring to keep those updated who are affected by power outages, water shutoffs and other municipal situations.
“When we use (social media), residents are getting information in real time,” Power said. “Those people start spreading it around, even to those without (social media accounts).”
By updating residents daily, it also prevents an overload of calls coming to the town hall.
“We’re not getting as many calls for information,” Power explained. “If we have a notice posted, there are not as many questions.”
But he stresses that there is no restriction to those wanting information by phone.
“Phone lines are always open,” he said.
Besides social media, Power said a new website would be launched soon.
“We’re getting ready, putting finishing touches on our new website,” he explained. “Then it will be revealed.”
The town’s current site, www.placentia.ca, gives contact information for staff and some background history of the town. But Power believes the new site will be more user friendly.
“We are striving to keep our website current and accessible to all residents,” he said.
The town is also hoping to post more photos.
“We’re finding lots of people like pictures,” Power explained. “We’re hoping to set up a photo network, like Flickr or something, soon.”
Some municipalities with active public social media accounts in the region include: Bay Roberts, Harbour Grace, Carbonear, Brigus, Victoria, Old Perlican, Bay de Verde, New Harbour and Heart’s Content.