York County has joined the other two Historic Triangle municipalities in the world of social media.
“It seems like more and more people are turning to social media to gather their information,” said York County spokeswoman Gail Whittaker, whose office will be running the pages.
Whittaker said county officials are encouraged by the success the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office has had with its Facebook page: Since YPSO launched its page in November 2011, its near-daily posts about crime and other law enforcement information have attracted more than 5,500 likes.
“They’ve developed quite a dialogue with the public,” Whittaker said of YPSO’s social media presence.
The county’s new Facebook and Twitter accounts will also convey emergency information, such as updates on storms and other weather events. Whittaker said she hopes to post content to the social media pages three to four times per week.
The social media policy in York County allows offices within the county government to establish their own pages with the approval of the county administration. In addition to YPSO and now the county, the York County School Division and the York County Public Library also run Facebook pages. YCSD is also on Twitter.
Williamsburg and James City County have been using social media for years.
Since launching a Facebook page in 2008, Williamsburg has received 3,260 likes. Its Twitter account has more than 3,000 followers. The James City County Facebook page has 2,344 likes, and its Twitter account has 1,462 followers.
“I’ve found it to be very helpful in our understanding of how our residents are thinking about things and about getting the word out,” said Williamsburg spokeswoman Kate Hoving.
Hoving, who operates both social media accounts for the city, said the accounts have provided her a way to get to know some of the city’s citizens who regularly use them. She said the accounts allow her to be more conversational with the public.
“I think some people are more comfortable engaging with us using tools they use every day in all areas of their life,” she said.
James City County spokeswoman Renee Dallman said social media has proven to be an effective way to communicate with James City County’s citizens.
“We’ve been very pleased with how well [social media has] been received in the community,” Dallman said. “We don’t see us stopping anytime soon.”
Dallman said the county has used its social media channels to communicate with the public about events and weather issues. She said the most viewed post James City County has yet had came when she snapped a photograph of the barricades blocking the Colonial Parkway during the shutdown of the federal government in 2013 — more than 21,000 people saw that picture, according to the social media analytics.
She said the county is investigating Instagram and Vine as possible next steps for the county’s social media presence. The county also runs a Flickr page primarily to share photos within the county’s government, however it is also open to the public.