Fischer Plans Town Hall on Facebook, Twitter

by Phillip M. Bailey on August 3, 2011

Continuing to expand the city’s use of social media, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has planned a virtual town hall meeting with citizens to answers questions and take suggestions via Facebook and Twitter. The online assembly is scheduled for August 15, beginning at 6p.m. and is being promoted as Fischer’s commitment to open, accessible government.

“Whether it’s at the grocery checkout, radio and TV call-ins or on Facebook, I really enjoy hearing what’s on people’s minds, how we can do better,” Fischer said in a news release. “There’s always a lot of energy on my Facebook and Twitter pages and we want to take that to an even higher level.”

While connecting with residents online to alert them about city announcements and his schedule has been an overall success, Fischer’s use of social networking has been a mixed bag of sort since taking office.

For weeks, the mayor has been bombarded by animal welfare advocates on his Facebook page for the continued problems at Metro Animal Services. At one point, the mayor threatened to ban anyone who used foul language on his page, but local bloggers accused him of scrubbing the page of any criticism regardless of language.

On Twitter, Fischer has been criticized for updating the site with messages that were more optimistic than accurate in two separate disasters. After a 48-inch water main broke on the University of Louisville campus last month, Fischer promised service would be back to normal overnight, however, several business remain closed after being seriously affected by the poor water pressure.

Local bloggers have already estimated the mayor will ignore certain questions over others, but the mayor’s office is encouraging residents to find the mayor on Facebook at “Mayor Greg Fischer” or on Twitter @louisvillemayor.

The online session is in addition to the regular face-to-face meetings Fischer has held with citizens every other month at various locations throughout the city. The meetings are called “Talk to Greg” where the mayor is joined by agency directors and members of the Metro Council.

The next regular “Talk to Greg” meeting, is September 12 at Valley High School, 10200 Dixie Highway.

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