March snow and ice gave King County’s new blog a good test run over the weekend as Metro Transit started using the KCNews blog and the existing KCNews Twitter feed to improve communication with its riders and the media.
March snow and ice gave King County's new blog a good test run over the weekend as Metro Transit started using the KCNews blog and the existing KCNews Twitter feed to improve communication with its riders and the media.
As Metro Transit prepared for weekend forecasts of snow by staffing up at bus bases and on the customer service phone lines, Metro's communications team expanded the reach of its information to thousands of individuals and users of new media.
While the KCNews blog is initially being used for Metro Transit information, it will be a source for a variety of information from all King County departments about their work on behalf of county residents. Like this weekend's Metro news, it will become one of the county's primary communications tools during an emergency, such as extreme weather or a catastrophic event such as an earthquake.
"Technology is giving us the opportunity to speak directly with our citizens and to hear from riders about what they are experiencing," said King County Executive Ron Sims. "It is especially useful for delivering information such as delays or changes in bus routes but Metro service is just one of the county services you will learn about on KCNews from now on."
Local residents already on Twitter not only helped to spread the word about the use of the account, they also provided valuable regional weather and bus updates throughout the weekend. The Metro riders behind the Web site Onebusaway.org wrote "King County Metro has twitter, a blog, and a posse: http://tinyurl.com/cz2eum."
The inaugural weekend of KCNews blog attracted 1,831 views/users. The blog combined with Metro's use of Twitter for the first time caused the number of KCNews Twitter followers to nearly double to 1108, up from 600 last Friday. The account had 117 retweets (forwards of its posts), comments, questions and announcements by other Twitter users to an unknown number of their followers.
Snow in north King and south Snohomish counties is expected to move into the Seattle area this afternoon so it looks like Metro will be blogging and Twittering through the afternoon commute too. Let's hope UW Atmospheric Sciences Professor Cliff Mass's (http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/) forecast of drier weather through the rest of the week holds true.