Ruby's recent post about the problems with the Town's communication strategy regarding the new Downtown Development Framework got me to think about the ways in which our town's government does not use social media to communicate with constituents. I'll have more to say about this hopefully in a future blog post, but this one item jumped out at me:For last year's town elections, Ruby put together a twitter list of local candidates. The list includes our mayor, as well as Penny RIch, Laurin Easthom and Gene Pease from Town Council. Other local government officials have twitter accounts, including Town Council members Matt Czajkowski, Donna Bell, and Sally Greene; and school board members Mia Burroughs and Shell Brownstein. As far as I can tell, neither Jim Ward nor Ed Harrison have twitter accounts. It's also worth noting that the Town of Chapel Hill has a twitter feed as well, but it's used only for reposting news releases -- the account itself has 0 followers.Some local officials like Kleinschmidt, Greene, and Burroughs are reasonably active tweeters. Matt Czajkowski's twitter feed has been silent since last year's election, while Brownstein's hasn't been updated since December 1. However, a constant thread that runs through all these social media accounts is that no one is using them to promote or encourage discussion of issues facing our town and county. Not a one. There are discussions of national political issues, mentions of restaurants that the tweeters are eating at, and other day-to-day miscellany, but nothing about local issues. Road pavings. The future of downtown. Chapel Hill Transit. The library bond issue. Any of the various development petitions winding their way to the council. Nothing.In addition, some of the local official twitter accounts are locked, meaning they're viewable only with the account holder's permission. The locked account holders also may very well accept follow requests from all comers, but that's an unnecessary hassle. It may be that the twitter accounts are intended for the accountholder's personal use as opposed to political use, but in that case there should be a separate, public account to encourage dialog with the constituents they represent.Twitter and other social media aren't just for the trivial and mundane, they also provide a new opportunity to engage a substantial segment of the community, one which may not have the time or opportunity to attend public hearings, council meetings or other physical gatherings. Our local officials need to take advantage of this opportunity.