Scarborough plans social media blitz, seeks residents' input

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SCARBOROUGH — The town wants to know how residents search for and find municipal information, and has posted a survey on its website to find out.

The effort is part of a larger shift toward increasing town utilization of social media to disseminate information. Town Councilors, at their meeting Wednesday, Feb. 17, are also slated to adopt a new social media policy.

“We wanted to improve communication with the community,” Town Councilor Jean-Marie Caterina said Wednesday afternoon. The purpose of the community engagement survey, she said, is to “find out how people get their information.”

In the next few months, the town will also build its own Facebook page and Twitter account, Town Manager Tom Hall said Wednesday.

Unlike the Scarborough Police Department’s Facebook page, which often solicits public input for solving crimes, the town’s Facebook page will be more of a one-way street, Hall said. 

It’s just one more way to push information, “so people aren’t blindsided,” by information during budget season, for example, Caterina said.

By Wednesday about two dozen residents had completed the online survey, which was posted Feb. 5, Hall said. 

The effort is to cover all the bases, he said.

It includes questions like “What source do you currently use to get information about town policies and decisions?,” “How do you currently share your opinions or concerns with town decision makers?,” and “What would be the best way for town officials to engage on town decisions?”.

It will hopefully give staff and elected officials more of an idea of how best to engage constituents, Caterina said. 

“What we want to do, ultimately, in improving our communication is to meet people where they are,” Hall said. 

In a town that has historically found itself divided on key issues like the municipal and school budgets, increasing communication will hopefully mean “less friction,” Caterina added. 

The survey can be found at scarboroughmaine.org. Residents who have questions or feedback can email Caterina at jcaterina@ci.scarborough.me.us.

Alex Acquisto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or aacquisto@theforecaster.net. Follow Alex on Twitter: @AcquistoA

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South Portland and Scarborough reporter for The Forecaster. Graduate of Western Kentucky University and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Alex can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106.