The City of West Hollywood prides itself on being on the forefront of social change and leadership, and this week, as a sign of its commitment to forward thinking and technology, the city redefined the job description and raised the salary of its digital media coordinator.
After a review of the position’s required knowledge and duties, initiated by the city’s human resources department, the digital media coordinator’s salary has been reclassified from a range of $67,807 to $86,644 annually, to a starting rate of $71,577 to $91,462.
“It’s a position that has evolved,” said Helen Goss, director of public information and prosecution services for the city. “It started off many years ago updating the city’s website. As time went on, we completely redid our website to create a virtual city hall, open twenty-four hours to have as many services as possible, and as we saw the establishment of social media, we began to utilize those resources to expand our ability to get information out about the city.”
Maybe 20 to 25 years ago cities would have only been able to communicate to their citizens through a newsletter or a daily or weekly paper, sometimes getting press on the evening news, Goss said.
“But now we can communicate within seconds,” Goss added.
In just over the past year, the city has begun actively engaging the West Hollywood community through its Facebook and Twitter accounts, said Brett White, digital media coordinator.
“Before, we were less aggressive,” White said. “What’s exciting for me, personally, is looking at what other municipalities are doing and not seeing much. We’re not like the city of Dallas or Seattle, we are a small workforce and it’s nice our little team can do so well with this.”
In April, the California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO) awarded the City of West Hollywood the 2011 Award of Excellence for the city’s new media strategy, and the 2011 Award of Distinction for the city’s website. The city was recognized for its integration of the website with social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, in addition to its Flickr account and virtual media kit.
“All we need to do is look at our world, and look at the way the Internet and social media has evolved in the past five years, which changes the way people engage in their relationships, including with their local government,” Goss said.
The West Hollywood community is demanding on a lot of technical levels, Goss added. With such a high concentration of early adapters in the area, the city is continually seeking out new ways to provide the 24/7 information cycle that people have come to expect.
White said he participates in online communities for governments to stay up on what’s going on in the field.
“But I don’t limit myself to what the government is doing. We want to stay ahead,” White said.
Goss said West Hollywood will continue to explore new techniques to provide the community information.
The city’s Twitter account boasts more than 800 followers and its Facebook hasmore than 1,500. If you would like to know more, just click ‘like’.
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