Wellington North looking to YouTube to communicate with citizens

KENILWORTH – Wellington North is seeking a greater online presence through YouTube.

On May 27, council  reviewed a report by human resources manager Chanda Riggi and human resources assistant Chevonne Wright which recommended the township maximize its social media with a YouTube channel expansion.

CAO Mike Givens said the report is part of the township’s overall goal of enhancing communication to residents and others.

Riggi said initially the  idea was to launch video training internally.

“It kind of snowballed from there with all the amazing things we could use a YouTube channel for. It is really unlimited.”

The township’s 2015 to 2018 Strategic Plan recommend the development of a strategy, which included the use of social media platforms to increase real-time, two-way communication and increase transparency and accessibility.

The report notes social media “has fundamentally changed the way our citizens discover, consume and share information and it has enabled millions of people and organizations worldwide to connect and communicate in new and innovative ways.

“It has created a new world in which government must learn to participate in a conversation with its audiences who demand transparency and immediate responses.”

To date, the township utilizes three main social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

The report states YouTube is a video-sharing website where registered users can upload and share information through two main streams: publicly with open access and privately to invited users.

With over one billion people visiting YouTube each month, Riggi says the township can assume that its target audience is already active on the site.

The report also suggests YouTube presents a number of opportunities for the township, such as the ability to utilize both public and private access and no time caps on the length of a posted video.

The report adds YouTube would open recorded council meetings to a larger audience and provide promotional opportunities for the township.

Wellington North currently does not video record its council sessions.

Councillor Steve McCabe saw the benefit in being able to broadcast some of the council meetings and to use the channel for staff training.

McCabe noted Minto records its meetings “… possibly edited” he quipped.

“I think they have good pickup on their council meetings over there.”

Councillor Lisa Hern agreed.

“We need to move with the times. We also need good broadband.”

Mayor Andy Lennox said he uses YouTube.

“What I love about YouTube is that avenue does not expose one to the negative comments, to the amount in some other social media platforms.”

McCabe asked whether the township made use of Instagram.

Wellington North’s economic development officer Dale Small said, “it is perhaps time to refresh our communication plan and Instagram falls into that, as do Facebook and Twitter.”

He said the township undertakes quite a bit of communication through Facebook and Twitter.

At the same time, he recognized not all councils partakes in those social media applications.

He said the township does want to engage the youth of the community.

“Any of the work done through our youth intern is done through Instagram.”

He said he felt all the social media applications have some use.

“We do a lot of municipal communication through Facebook and Twitter,” Small said. He suggested council members get accounts to at least see what is being posted.

Council received the report as information.