The Top 10 issues to be aware of when using social media in local (or any) government:
# 1 Ethics & Acceptable Use
Make sure your sites have posting guidelines so the users know the rules, and that your employees understand their responsibilities when responding to your sites.
# 2 Moderation Rules for 2 Way Communications
What constitutes a Limited Public Forum? Decide how you will moderate the "debate" if you are lucky enough to have one break out on your site.
# 3 Usage Intent
Social media tools for citizen’s use? To what end? To inform, advise, collect feedback?
# 4 Legacy Filtering
Exceptions for authors & moderators. If your organization blocks social media sites you will have some special challenges providing access to the sites to manage them.
# 5 Roles
Who will do what? Define what the author, moderator, approver, administrator, educator, PR advisor all do. Even if they are all the same person. For active sites, it will be more than one role and person.
# 6 Owner Responsibilities
Yes, someone has to own the site. They do the managing of content and perhaps lots of other things such as monitoring of principal & site-specific key messages, external links & moderated comments.
# 7 Education
How much and to who? Why, how & when to use social media. How to do a post, insert a picture, etc. Don't assume that just because you know how to do it, that they know how to do it.
# 8 Technology
Who ever has the credentials to access the system and write posts can speak for the entire locality.Controlling access & administering principal & site-specific IT security & operational parameters
# 9 Records Management
All public records need to be managed and destroyed at some point. Backup, retention & disposal of records.
# 10 Support Structure
Decide who will watch it, care for it, and answer questions that the citizens ask.
Principal (Parent) and site-specific sites. Site owners, authors, moderators.
Awareness and focus on these areas will keep you out of trouble as you open your government to the citizens via social media!