A funny thing happened when I stopped covering Grafton: the town decided to enter the 21st century.
The town of Grafton now has both a Facebook page and a Twitter account — imagine, social media! From the release:
“This approach for the Town stems from the desire to improve the speed and breadth of its communications. Social media is now a prevalent form of communication used by government, business, and individuals. The Town is looking to engage residents and interested parties via a form of communication that they are already using, providing added convenience to residents. The Town will continue to use all other means of communication that it has used in the past; however, the Town strongly encourages residents to stay connected with town news and events using these social media networks.”
The Twitter account for the town is @TownofGraftonMA and the Facebook page can be “liked” here.
Grafton’s actually a bit behind the curve here. Several police departments in the towns the Mass. Daily Voice sites used to cover (including Northbridge!) had their own Facebook pages, which they used to distribute police logs and announcements. I especially loved Milford Police’s use of social media — they would post (sometimes blurry, but enthusiastic) pictures of crime activities practically in real-time on both Facebook and Twitter.
Still, this is a good start for Grafton. There was a lot of talk in recent years about the difficulty in getting word out in a timely fashion, most notably in the Snowtober storm in 2011 when power knocked out 90 percent of the town. Even when town officials managed to get access to the Municipal Center computer system, a good percentage of households had lost their landlines so weren’t able to get any of the Code Red calls detailing emergency info. Most people were relying on their smartphones for information — believe me, I know; it was reflected in our site stats.
The school department, by the way, has been doing this for a while. A good number of Grafton High School staff, as well as some student groups, are on Twitter and Facebook (although @GHSPrincipal hasn’t been Tweeting since August 2011, and his profile is the OLD high school). Just the other day, I was surprised as heck to see Superintendent Jay Cummings (@JamesCummings7) pop up in my Twitter feed — obviously I knew he was on Twitter, since I was following him, but I didn’t realize his avatar was a headshot I had taken!
While you’re following all these people on Twitter, don’t forget to follow me to: @jpaluzziSun. I’m not covering Grafton full-time anymore, but I’m usually passing on the gossip!