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Des Moines Suburb Rejects Social Media

Geoff Wood

Waukee, Iowa did something interesting in a recent meeting of the City Council according to Isaiah McGee at IowaBiz.com:


The city of Waukee recently passed a resolution to "take any action necessary to prohibit the use of its name in social networking platforms" even against a Facebook fan page that asks "why is Waukee a great place to live?"

From digging into the meeting minutes it seems to me that they are afraid that allowing the use of the City name (which they are attempting to trademark) and logo in social media is the equivilent of endorsing those platforms (and the conversations within).

While much of the legal aspects of social media haven't been tested, yet, there's a greater point the Waukee leadership is missing, as I commented on Isaiah's post:

Great post, Isaiah.

The Waukee decision doesn't surprise me and is characteristic of society's general distrust of things they don't know or understand.

I have a friend who worked for IBM for a long time and told me they once did a study that every major technical evolution (desk phones, PCs, internet, cell phones, etc) tends to be distrusted and discouraged by the business for X amount of time until they realize the benefits of the technology to the business - when they whole-heartedly embrace it (can you imagine an office without the Internet, now?).

People will use social media to discuss the City of Waukee whether they like it or not. I think, in time, they'll come to the realization that it's better to embrace the discussion and participate it rather than have it take place unfettered and underground.

Waukee's elders should be embracing the fact that people are talking about the City in Facebook. In uncertain times they should be need to be participating in the conversations their citizens are having in the places where they are having them.