Who is Philly's first digital director?
And how does she maintain Mayor Kenney’s famous Twitter presence?
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Under Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration, the city of Philadelphia has its first digital director. Stephanie Waters, the former digital director for Kenney’s campaign, officially took the reins of her new title just last week.
She’s still getting used to her new position, learning the ins and outs of City Hall — and getting use to working with a PC after using Mac computers for so long. So far, she says, other City Hallers have been very helpful.
As digital director, Waters is primarily tasked with assisting Kenney on his social media accounts, but she’ll also be a resource to other departments within City Hall that lack a social media presence.
“I saw the opportunity in government to be able to engage with citizens as incredibly important and a really valuable way that we could improve what was currently happening on the existing social accounts,” Waters said. “It wasn’t a role that existed before and I thought that if we showed that we were making it a priority we would really be able to help other departments with their social media and web content.”
A lot of people use different ways to get in contact with city government, Waters added. Although some still do, it’s not as common for Philadelphians to physically walk into City Hall with their problems. Some access it by making phone calls, email, and of course, social media.
“It’s really important to make sure that you’re reaching the people in all the different ways that they communicate nowadays, and recognize that the main way a lot of people are communicating is via Twitter or Facebook,” Waters added.
Mayor Kenney famously enjoys using Twitter, especially as a way to engage with people living in the city—for better or worse.
I think it's safe to say that Justin Bieber never had a good beating from his parents or out on the street. Safe to say it might have helped
— Jim Kenney (@JimFKenney) January 24, 2014
I will send a donation to the effort to cure ALS, but could we please stop the ice bucket bath crap? It's becoming maddening! Stop!
— Jim Kenney (@JimFKenney) August 16, 2014
That’s one of the cool things about being able to work with Mayor Kenny, Waters says. Typically he’ll ask her to tweet something from his official account or she’ll suggest certain things that maybe he should tweet.
As for the other departments in Philly government like the Office of Information and Technology (OIT) Waters wants to help them as they prepare to redo and update their web presence.
“I think it can be hard for people to understand the importance in making that a priority but the big part of the process is getting content from all of the departments and I think OIT needs help,” Waters said.
Water’s biggest hope is be an advocate for the various departments in City Hall — whether it’s to help them with their presence on the web or just help them have someone there fighting for them if they need resources.