Before moving to Edmonton for school, I lived in the small town of Westlock. The main way that I got information for events and happenings were word of mouth, posters, bulletin boards, newsletters. It was more or less low tech. There was a website, though growing up I never really needed to know the minutes of various board meetings, or where to file a bylaw complaint.
Comparing Westlock and Edmonton, then and now, is quite a difference. I’m looking at the information on municipality websites more because the information is more relevant to me now than when I was in high school. Both municipalities have a website that’s set up well, with organized content, a functional layout and an appealing design. One of the things I noticed as a difference is that Westlock’s social media was more easily accessible from the website than that of Edmonton. Both Westlock and Edmonton have well designed, and regularly updated Facebook pages. As a comparison, Westlock has 1,191 total page likes, while Edmonton has 66,851. Furthermore, they both have other social media Westlock has YouTube, and Edmonton has Twitter. Edmonton uses twitter, a more relevant social media, and posts more often. This has paid off. @CityofEdmonton has about 155, 000 followers on twitter. TownofWestlock on YouTube has less than 10 subscribers.
Although, Westlock’s online presence has improved over the past few years, there are still areas that could be improved. I would suggest updating their YouTube account. They should post more relevant videos that highlight the normal life, new developments, cool events, or interesting information.
Moreover, Westlock could join other social media platforms like Instagram or twitter. For Instagram they could have local photographers sending in photos. This will showcase the local setting as well as local artists. Twitter would improve engagement inside and outside the municipality. The town, in general could improve by having a stronger online presence. Better communication would greatly improve the engagement of the residence in every aspect; social, economic, political, and cultural. Beyond that though, it may become more known throughout Alberta, encouraging people to move in. Overall, bettering public relations using such a current and relevant technology will only improve Westlock.
Kolbasun,. (2015). Duel v2. Retrieved from https://openclipart.org/detail/215368/duel-v2