Should Abington Township Have a Facebook Presence?
The Abington Public Affairs Committee discussed the possibility of creating a township Facebook page.
Yesterday, the Abington Township Public Affairs Committee discussed the possibility of creating a township Facebook account.
No action was taken.
Abington Board of Commissioners President Carol DiJoseph said residents had approached her about the township having a Facebook page.
“It’s kind of a ‘where-have-you been mindset,’” she said.
Abington Assistant Township Manager Matt Lahaza gave a brief presentation, including the history of Facebook; he said that such a presence would “increase transparency in government.”
During the presentation, he lauded the federal government’s Facebook presence, as well as the city of San Francisco’s. Lahaza even said that the Abington Library has a Facebook page—though the one he referenced in the presentation belonged to an “Abington Library” located in Arkansas. Check it out here.
And maybe that’s part of the problem.
Though it’s free to set up a Facebook account, maintaining it and making it easily recognizable to residents (and whoever else wants to stay connected to the township) will take a commitment on the township’s part.
During public comment, a resident said that the efforts that go into creating a Facebook account might be better spent upgrading the township’s existing website.
Lori Schreiber said she had concerns regarding who would administer the proposed Facebook page and added that she was worried about who could post comments to the page.
Commissioner Peggy Myers said that Lahaza or Abington Township Manger Michael LeFevre might be able to be Abington’s Facebook page administrators.
Commissioner Steven Kline, who said he uses the social media site extensively, said that he is concerned about “freedom of speech issues” when it comes to removing comments—either obscene or libelous—from the proposed Abington Facebook page.
And Commissioner Michael O’Connor brought some levity to the room when he said, “You need a computer for this, right?”
The consensus of the committee was to go forward with the Facebook exploration. Myers said the issue will likely be discussed at the May board of commissioners meeting—this will give Lahaza and township staff time to ask neighboring municipalities about their respective Facebook accounts.