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Connect to the City of Grand Rapids government through social media

If you want to learn more about the city government, you could check your feed on Twitter or Facebook or watch a City Commission meeting online.

How to connect to the City of Grand Rapids government




We Are GR

/Courtesy of the City of Grand Rapids

The City of Grand Rapids has been working to make it easier for citizens who use social media to learn more about their city. Frequent posts bring up a variety of issues over multiple social media websites very quickly.

"Sometimes that's the first group that finds things out just because social media is so accessible," says assistant City Manager Tom Almonte.

More citizens have consistently been "liking" the City of Grand Rapids' Facebook page. It now has a total of over 2,300 likes. The city's Twitter page has 1,500 followers on Twitter.

"We have found Facebook to be very effective. In the last year, we went from having several different Facebook pages. Departments were doing everything individually but now we have a single Facebook page that every department can have access to," says Almonte. "Since we've launched that, we've seen a daily increase in the number of followers we have."

The City's Twitter account "CityGrandRapids" on Twitter has recently been reminding citizens to vote, revealing outcomes to the election November 5 and even mentions a reminder of street parking during the winter months. Upcoming events are tweeted, often along with links to further information.

For those not connected to social media regularly, City Commission meetings are now posted online so citizens can watch and catch up on recent issues from the comfort of their own homes.

"We post a number of video blogs on Youtube throughout the week. It could just be a quick 30 second message," says Almonte. "Slowly we are building up this social media machine to engage with those that choose to use social media to receive information from the city."

Video blogs from Mayor Heartwell and City Manager Greg Sundstrom can be found on Youtube and on the City Connection on The Rapidian. They discuss upcoming events and changes in the city.

"The city manager is quite passionate about improving the communication with all the citizens," says Almonte. "We know that there's a group of citizens that are more comfortable going to our website to find out information."

The city has also been reaching out to citizens that may not want to use internet sources. The City of Grand Rapids is in a partnership with Grand Rapids schools to produce a newspaper called "We Are GR."

"Four times a year we send out a paper. There is another group of citizens that would rather read the paper so that is another outlet we are taking advantage of. It includes a general update and what is going on with the Transformation plan. We use social media more for things that are happening at the time," says Almonte. "We also encourage everyone to like our Facebook page."

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