Parks merge so­cial me­dia ac­counts

The Capital - - NEWS - By Hal­lie Miller “Happy New Year! As part of our res­o­lu­tion to stream­line com­mu­ni­ca­tions from Mary­land State Parks, we are merg­ing this ac­count with @MDS­tateParks. Please be sure to fol­low that ac­count to­day to keep up-to-date with events and news! This a

The Mary­land Park Ser­vice is elim­i­nat­ing sev­eral dozen park-unique so­cial me­dia ac­counts, con­sol­i­dat­ing its mes­sag­ing on Twit­ter, Face­book and In­sta­gram into sin­gle ac­counts, much to the cha­grin of park­go­ers who like and want park­spe­cific in­for­ma­tion.

Word of the con­sol­i­da­tion came on Twit­ter in post­ings that read:

A memo to park staffers from Ti­mothy Hamil­ton, the park ser­vice’s busi­ness and mar­ket­ing man­ager, dic­tated the an­nounce­ment and said: “The new pol­icy was based solely on im­prove (sic) the ef­fi­ciency of mes­sag­ing and to stream­line the flow of in­for­ma­tion.”

David Tay­lor said the move strips away a valu­able re­source that pro­vides a ser­vice to niche com­mu­ni­ties. The St. Mary’s County res­i­dent vis­ited the Har­riet Tub­man Un­der­ground Rail­road State Park in March 2018 for its one-year an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion af­ter learn­ing about it from the park’s Twit­ter ac­count, @Tub­manSP.

“Lump­ing them all to­gether is not con­ducive to what Twit­ter is,” Tay­lor said. “I don’t need all that in­for­ma­tion. That’s why I en­joyed pick­ing the con­tent I was in­ter­ested in.”

Mary­land De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources spokesman Gregg Bortz said the di­rec­tive “is a pri­mar­ily proac­tive mea­sure” that fol­lows a “long-term re­view of best prac­tices.” He said the goal is to in­crease con­tent and have the field staff re­main in charge of putting it to­gether.

Most of the park Twit­ter ac­counts have been ac­tive since 2012. The num­ber of fol­low­ers on a given ac­count ranges from as few as 47 users to over 4,000. Bortz said that the de­part­ment ex­pects the main ac­count to serve a larger au­di­ence now.

Park­go­ers say shut­ting down the so­cial me­dia ac­counts erases pieces of his­tory and op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­stant, on-the­ground cov­er­age and en­gage­ment.

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