It’s become a common thing to see “City of ________” starting an Instagram account and posting to a Facebook page. This is good.
But cities are falling into the same trap that businesses do as they try to gain a social media presence - low-hanging fruit.
Here is a picture of our downtown. Here is a picture of our river. Here is a picture of a hamburger you can eat. Here is another picture of our river. Here is a picture of a salad.
While those things are part of a city, they’re aren’t THE city. Cities are about people and life and stories. Those objects are props, and when civic social media becomes about props, it’s like watching a three hour play about a hat.
But the river and the hamburger and the salad still prevail because they’re easy. iPhone out, take picture, post.
Check it off the list.
Meanwhile, the other cities are checking the same boxes off the same lists.
Downtown...check. River...check. Hamburger...check.
And so the low-hanging fruit a city thought was fun and special is actually boring and a city full of unique and beautiful stories becomes the same as any other town people know nothing about.
Easy content white-washes a city. Not everything has to be a 5000 word think-piece on a water bill, but everything should point to what makes a city a city - the people, the lives, and the stories.