Council Members' Web Pages Underutilized
February 15th, 2008
When the City Council released its new Web site last December, one of the features it offered was the ability of council members to manipulate their member pages. The councilís communications office even offered training for staffers and council members on how to personalize them. But two months later, the option has barely been used.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s page offers an example of how one could be set up. Members can create tabs for various pages on their site, and they can include links to relevant information. Quinn has a few different pages, where constituents can find press releases, a selection of speeches, or a biography.
The biography is standard, and all members offer that, as well as contact info. Two members offer a news or press page, but one has nothing on it, and the other only one item. Beyond that, however, there isn’t much to see.
“When people are looking for information about their representatives or an issue, their first stop is the Web,” says Tim Hysom. “They don’t go to the Web to find a phone number and then call to get that information.”
Hysom works at the Congressional Management Foundation, which rates the quality of legislative Web sites through their Gold Mouse Report. The elements they find most important in lawmakers’ Web sites are voting records, issue priorities, and the services they offer.
“Legislators’ Web pages are critically important for forming a relationship with constituents and building a community online,” he says.By Mike Muller on February 15, 2008, 12:05 pm
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