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Cary officials talk reinvention of website, social media

Cary Trustee Kim Covelli listens as Cary Police Chief Pat Finlon speaks during a Village Board meeting Nov. 27.
Cary Trustee Kim Covelli listens as Cary Police Chief Pat Finlon speaks during a Village Board meeting Nov. 27.

The Cary Village Board is considering spending $11,000 to revamp the government’s website and develop a social media strategy that board members contend will allow the village to share positive news and control the message.

During the board’s Committee of the Whole meeting last week, Village Administrator Jacob Rife brought up the possible launch of a mobile app residents can use to get updates about what’s happening in the village.

A complete redesign of the website is a move the village would like to explore in the next few years, Rife said.

Trustee Kim Covelli said she is a “big proponent” of the village using social media to deliver news.

“I think a lot of people turn to social media for their news,” Covelli said, “and I like to see them get the right news instead of going somewhere else and getting part of the story or maybe not all the story.”

Trustee Jennifer Weinhammer echoed Covelli’s support.

“I would like to see [a] Facebook, and for that exact reason, too – having one spot for people on social media to go to instead of having chat groups where different information is being passed around,” Weinhammer said.

Trustee Ellen McAlpine raise a concern about more focus on social media: “Do we have excess staff that’s going to be able to do something like that? Or is there another way to achieve that with what we currently have?”

If the village goes to Facebook, Rife said, information would travel in one direction: outward.

“I would encourage us to restrict comments on there, and it would just be a one-way-out,” Rife said. “We’re providing information to our residents.”

“Tonight would have been a great Facebook post,” Covelli said. “The state champs were out here, getting pictures, giving the proclamation and the key. That would be great to promote on Facebook.”

Mayor Mark Kownick said a “static” one-way option would be the best route.

“That way we control the facts and the message that goes out,” Kownick said.

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