The village of Brookfield has joined the fray on social media, with the village’s official Facebook page (@BrookfieldVillageIL) going live on the morning of Sept. 30. The launch ticks a box off the list of initiatives handed to Assistant Village Manager George Issakoo, particularly with regard to creating a social media presence for the village.
And, residents have welcomed that outreach. Less than a day after it went live, the page had more than 700 likes. The first official post announced the Brookfield Beautification Commission’s Project NICE clean-up event on Oct. 5.
“We want it to be informational and for it to be a public discourse,” said Issakoo, who added he’s working with Facebook to obtain a verification badge for the page. “We want to better communicate and share information about the great things going on in the community.”
In addition to public events like Project NICE, Issakoo said he has worked out a schedule with all village department heads to provide content for the page on a weekly basis. That content could include updates on village initiatives, or could highlight good work being done by village staff.
The page may also include local success stories about local businesses and will also try to cross post information already being shared on a Brookfield events page that’s maintained by the Department of Parks and Recreation.
“We want to have those separate pages work together to get a broad spectrum of eyes on various posts,” Issakoo said.
Issakoo said he has asked the village board liaisons to the various advisory commissions to reach out to those groups and encourage them to share information the village can post to the Facebook page.
“I want to work with the commissions to get their content up there,” Issakoo said.
While the Facebook page is intended to foster an exchange of information between the village and residents, Issakoo said that it was not intended to be a place for debates to play out or a place where residents submit information requests or work orders for the Public Works Department.
There is already an email address — firstname.lastname@example.org – for residents to report urgent public works requests or to notify the village of specific neighborhood issues. A link to the village’s social media police, approved recently by the village board, is included in on the Facebook page’s “About” section.
It states that the Facebook page is not monitored 24 hours a day and is not intended as a place where the village conducts official business. It also provides contact information about where to report non-emergency issues and instructs residents to call 911 in case of emergency.
Issakoo is the lone administrator of the Facebook page at this time and is in charge of vetting posts from village departments and commissions as well as making sure comments adhere to the village’s social media policy.
“I certainly welcome comments, but it’s definitely not a forum for staff to be debating with the public on items,” Issakoo said.
There’s more social media outreach coming in the future, according to Issakoo, including a Brookfield public safety page on Twitter. That account will include information from both the police and fire departments as well as any public safety issue involving public works.
“There’s no set date for that yet,” Issakoo said. “We want to give [Facebook] a try and see how we’re doing. When we’re comfortable, I’ll request permission to kick off the Twitter handle – probably in the next few months.”
Former Village Manager Keith Sbiral created a now-apparently defunct Facebook page for village hall to officially comment on questions posted on other Facebook forums, but Issakoo said his intent is for residents to interact on the new page.
In addition, village staff are the only people capable of posting or sharing content on the village’s official Facebook page. Residents can comment on village-generated posts, but will not be able to post or share content themselves on the page.