MEA council playing social media catch-up

News
News

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council needs to “spice up” its website and join the social media revolution, elected representatives have stressed.

Following complaints that its website is “unimaginative” and “unappealing”, the local authority is taking steps to improve the service in a bid to provide users with a better experience.

And the council is also keenly aware of the importance of making use of popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter – something it has so far failed to capitalise on.

At the latest meeting of the policy and resources committee in Smiley Buildings, a council officer told members that some of the work to improve the online facilities was “coming to fruition”.

Cllr Gordon Lyons claimed Mid and East Antrim had been lagging behind other councils when it came to the use of social media.

And he urged the local authority to give some consideration to setting up a Twitter handle, urging that it be kept “short and succinct”, in a bid to make the service as user friendly as possible.

Meanwhile, Cllr Jim Brown felt the blue-and-white theme of the council’s home site was “not imaginative”.

“We need to spice up our website,” he said, suggesting the council should add a “splash of colour and some photographs”.

“It is not the most appealing of viewing at this point,” he claimed.

Sinn Fein Cllr Paul Maguire felt members of the public should be able to make use of the council website to search for and easily identify councillors based on their district electoral areas (DEAs).

The Braid representative added: “I have been contacted by people from the Larne and Carrick areas, talking to me about areas that I know nothing about.

“The former Ballymena website allowed people to identify councillors by DEA.

“Something similar should be done for Mid and East Antrim, as it would make it more convenient for people,” he added.

At present, elected members are categorised on the council website in alphabetical order.

The council officer said she would be happy to take members’ views on board.

She added that a draft social media policy for councillors was currently in the pipeline, and that council was also “trying to get a head of PR and communications” in place.

The local authority’s website can be viewed at www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk