"We're a pretty small community," said Pamela Broviak, city engineer and director of public works for LaSalle, which counted a population of about 10,000 people in the 2000 census. It's located just off the intersection of Route 80 and Route 39. Chicago is about an hour and a half away by highway. City government has about 75 employees, with about 27 working in Broviak's Public Works department.
"Our community isn't full of a lot of big computer users," she said in a conversation over Second Life voice. Nonetheless, the city government has successfully used social media to connect.
The town uses Twitter for its public works program; it posted updates several times a week on a recent road-repair project, to let people in the neighborhood know how it was going. The city itself also has a Twitter account, in which it posts activity at city council meetings. And Broviak has her own Twitter account. Town departments have blogs, and the town has an online community calendar.
Broviak said she goes slow to avoid overwhelming citizens with new features and social media services. "I try to keep adding a little bit at a time, because we're an older and smaller community. But people are taking to it well," she said.
LaSalle has a Facebook account, and city officials communicate with each other via Skype.
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