Mountain View County tweets away

Mountain View County has joined the Twitter nation. The county officially became a tweeter on Aug. 11 when it posted its first messages on the popular networking site that limits posts to 140 characters or fewer.

Mountain View County has joined the Twitter nation.

The county officially became a tweeter on Aug. 11 when it posted its first messages on the popular networking site that limits posts to 140 characters or fewer.

County communications co-ordinator Jonathan Koch tapped out nearly two dozen tweets during a policies and priorities committee meeting to kick off the feature.

Since then, decisions from regular county council and municipal planning commission meetings have been sent out within seconds of the vote.

Public notices and other useful messages are also routinely put on the county’s Twitter site, said Koch, who adds at least a couple of tweets a day.

Tweeter’s ranks are estimated in the millions, and a growing number of Alberta municipalities are using the micro-blogging service to get their messages out.

Edmonton, Calgary and Medicine Hat are also using Twitter to post notices about road closures and other events, and other groups such as the Olds library and Ponoka Chamber of Commerce have profiles.

The reaction so far has been positive.

One skeptical person thought county councillors would be spending their time in meetings twittering back and forth to each other, but they were assured that was not the case.

Twitter won’t be replacing the county’s other methods of getting its message out, newspapers, radio, websites and other forums. Rather, Twitter provides another venue to provide information, said Koch.

“We’re trying to integrate it into our normal communication process.”

There is a lot of potential with the near-instant messaging capabilities of Twitter, he said.

Weather or disaster warnings are a natural fit.

And there’s the additional bonus that Twitter may put the county in touch with a young, tech-savvy demographic not reached by the usual methods of communication.

Koch plans to keep an eye on Twitter to see how it is received by ratepayers.

“I guess it’s a work in progress and we’ll see how it goes. So far, it’s got a lot of potential.”

To check out the county site, go to http://twitter.com/MVCounty

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com