Tuesday, March 12, 2013


To tweet, or not to tweet. That is the question, according to Rockville City Councilmember Bridget Newton at last week's meeting.

Newton's colleague, Councilmember Tom Moore, recently encouraged citizens to make public meetings broadcast on Channel 11 interactive, by tweeting throughout using the hashtag #rkvcouncil.  Ostensibly, councilmembers could also interact during the meeting on Twitter, as well.

Newton says there should be a discussion, and a policy, regarding councilmembers tweeting during a council meeting. However, the discussion has not yet been added to a future meeting agenda.

Initially when I heard about this, I thought it was a great idea. Few citizens watch the meetings (the most recent survey revealed most residents get their information on city issues from the old-school Rockville Reports newsletter, mailed to every home). Even fewer vote. So anything that engages the public in the political process has to be a positive.

But Newton makes a valid point. Unless a time is set aside on the agenda for "tweets," at what point in a public meeting should an elected official "tune out" the People's Business at hand?

Whatever policy ends up being adopted, the biggest value would be to continue to encourage the citizens to tweet during the meeting.

What's your opinion? Do you think the council needs a "Twitter policy," and should councilmembers tweet in real time during meetings?

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