Parks merge social media accounts
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.