New Bedford City Council Looks to Join Social Media
NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — The New Bedford City Council took the first steps Thursday night to embark on an adventure to a brand new world – the world of social media.
The council voted 9-0 on Councilor-at-Large Brian K Gomes's request to have John Costa, the head of the Department of Management Information Services, meet with the council to discuss creating a New Bedford City Council social media account for Facebook and Twitter.
The two social media accounts would provide news updates, committee reports, videos of ceremonies, and even commentary about votes and policies from individual councilors.
Gomes said these two accounts would also provide information for news outlets in the Boston and Providence media markets. He said people in New Bedford and the surrounding areas should know what happens in city council meetings and become more involved in local government.
“When I spoke about the media part of it, we are lacking in getting information out to people,” Gomes said. “Some of the news that should be in question, that I see or hear, there are crickets. I want to get that out to the general public.”
Gomes also hoped other media outlets would cover the council meetings once the social media accounts launched. The launch dates are yet to be determined.
The proposal includes a possible internship program for students at local universities and high schools to help run the accounts.
Gomes said students at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School would also have the opportunity to participate in this internship but admitted the council might hire additional staff to run the accounts full-time.
“At this point, we're still looking into this,” Gomes said. “It may come to a point that we may have to hire someone to take care of this, because it is a lot of work.”
The request to create the two social media accounts came after New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell said on WBSM's Tim Weisberg Show that he wants to use social media more frequently to provide updates to his constituents.
Gomes said the decision to build these accounts had nothing to do with Mitchell’s administration. He said the council had previously wanted to get these social media accounts up and running as far back as 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and recent changes in the council, however, Gomes said the plan had to wait until now.
“I heard that chit-chatter today that this was due to the mayor and it is not,” he said. “We had a lot of these things set aside. We are not following the mayor’s lead on this, this was our lead.”