County: Broome County
Population: Less than 5,000
2017 Local Government Achievement Award
Village Hall: (607) 692-4907
This program engages residents on a new level to communicate initiatives and important information, facilitate feedback, respond to concerns of residents, and more. It has drastically expanded the use of social media, which has earned the recognition of many of the residents who enjoy the responsiveness that have been demonstrated.
In January, the strategy of expanding community engagement was taken a step further by hosting a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything). The objective was to discuss village government on a new platform to help people gain a better understanding of where their tax money is going, what major developments the Village of Whitney Point is working on and why they are important to the community.
The AMA quickly became popular, receiving over 3,300 comments from members of Reddit, 30,000 "votes" from readers and made the front page of the website, which is read by over a quarter of a million people. It was featured by local media in the Binghamton and Syracuse markets, but also covered by massive media outlets such as Daily Mail (UK) and Attn.com.
The entirety of our Reddit AMA can be viewed here.
Any municipality or elected official can host an AMA on Reddit at no-cost. In order for it to be successful however, the "host" must be willing to give honest, open and interesting answers. Typical PR-safe answers will not get the attention of this community, which is known for being humorous, unpredictable and wild.
Messages from residents who read the AMA were delighted to see their community receiving attention on a large scale. The AMA created a sense of pride and excitement for residents and furthermore, many learned of village programs, services or initiatives that they had previously been unaware of. Had the AMA not occurred, thousands of people would never have heard of Whitney Point or been discussing fire departments, water and sewer service, garbage pickup, property restoration, etc.