Mayor Sawnick offers Vero Beach a Tweet deal

VERO BEACH — The city might be 90 years old and a bit set in its ways, but Vero Beach Mayor Kevin Sawnick wants the city he leads to begin communicating with constituents using all practical modern means.Sawnick has repeatedly requested that the city make better use of its website, but this time he’s taking it a step further.His written request for an agenda item asks the council to “Utilize the social networking site Twitter to update public regarding events, meeting . . . etc.” Twitter, for those unindoctrinated in social networking, is an website which allows people to keep up with events and news from friends, family, business associates and media outlets all over the world. Members send a short message (140 characters or less) called a “Tweet” out to the world and a list of followers can get the message on a computer screen or portable device, or even as a text message on a cell phone. Tweets are also searchable, so someone interested in a particular topic, for example, “Vero Beach Electric” or “FP&L” could search and find any tweets someone sent out containing those words.Twitter has been an important form of communication during natural disasters, wars and other crises where some traditional means of communication are not readily available due to damage to utility lines or censorship. People have communicated to the outside world during recent earthquakes, floods and hurricanes, sharing status reports about damage and the conditions on the ground. It is also used as a marketing tool for businesses to get the word out about a product or service.Florida has a very broad public records law, so theoretically any Tweets that the city sent or received would become public record, available to any citizen upon request.Sawnick has commented during council meetings that younger people and young, working families don’t always have the time to come to meetings and sometimes don’t feel that politics — especially local politics — has any relevance to their lives, that they feel very disconnected from their government. The 28-year-old tech savvy mayor uses his Facebook page to share city news and to recruit volunteers for service projects, including his monthly beach cleanups, which have removed hundreds of pounds of debris from the city and county beaches since Sawnick launched the project in 2009.The item will be considered when the council meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

Related Articles

Comments are closed.