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NetVolunteers uses social media to bring government to the people

Oakland County’s newest volunteer program, NetVolunteers, harnesses the power of social networking to connect government and the people it serves.

Through popular sites like Facebook and Twitter, and various blogs and other Web-based community forums, NetVolunteers participants share the latest information about Oakland County government with the public.

"The NetVolunteers project is a new way of thinking about civic engagement," said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. "Transparency is such a buzzword in government these days -- but the NetVolunteers project really aims to deliver on that by directly involving citizens in the process of what we do on a day-to-day basis."

A recent example of how NetVolunteers works involves the sightings of Eastern Massasauga rattlesnakes in Oakland County last summer. At that time, NetVolunteers was a pilot project. A handful of volunteers blogged in several publications that none of the sightings was in county parks.

NetVolunteers is a first-of-its-kind program that works toward several goals:

  • Sharing information about Oakland County programs and services
  • Increasing government transparency
  • Understanding and responding to the needs of those who live, work, play and do business in Oakland County
  • Providing accurate and up-to-date information about Oakland County government
  • Inviting and supporting citizen engagement in government
  • Connecting people with the many resources provided by Oakland County government

"Reaching our goals requires the commitment of our staff and strong community involvement," said Phil Bertolini, Oakland County CIO and deputy county executive. "Community contributions play a critical role in our social media efforts, and our NetVolunteers serve as the foundation."

More details about Oakland County government volunteer opportunities, including the NetVolunteers program, are available online at http://www.oakgov.com/volunteer/.

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