PALMYRA, Mo. | Marion County has joined the social media outlet, Twitter, in an effort to help it disperse information to the public. Its Twitter address is @MarionCoMoLomax.
“I thought that it may be useful to have a Twitter feed,” said Presiding Commissioner David Lomax, suggesting that the county could use the site to post updates on such critical topics as COVID-19 and the flood season. “I scanned through all the Marion Counties in Twitter, but didn't see one for Missouri's Marion.”
Lomax believes the county's presence on Twitter will enable it to reach a broader audience.
“An ever-increasing number of people are on Twitter as well as Facebook, and there is the ability to send out information in near real time to the media and interested persons,” he said.
Lomax foresees the site not only being used to issue emergency or disaster notifications, but meeting notices, particularly those with a short lead-in time or that have been changed.
Twitter is not widely used by many out-state counties in Northeast Missouri, according to Lomax.
“I haven't seen any rural counties posting yet,” he said, adding that Twitter's search tool can be used to look for specific entities that have a Twitter site.
The site set up by Lomax could be unique in Marion County.
“As far as I know, I am the first Marion County, Mo., official to set up a Twitter feed. Other offices can certainly do so if they desire,” said the commissioner, who will be relaying information from other county offices when requested to or as is needed.
The biggest challenge that Lomax might face when posting county news is doing so using a limited number of characters. But even that will not be as big a chore as it once might have been.
“Until recently Twitter posts were limited to a total of 140 characters,” he said. “However, Twitter has now doubled the maximum to 280 characters.”
Lomax acknowledges that he will have his hands full doing the posting, but believes it will be worth the effort in order to get county information to the public quickly.
“Twitter's primary purpose is to rapidly distribute information, and to that end, I will work to keep the best info out there and in a timely manner,” he said.
Lomax said that creating a Twitter account is not difficult and it does not cost anything.