Barhite: Social media guru wants Toledo to be ‘benchmark’Written by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
The hiring of Toledo’s new digital and social media specialist took some by surprise. LOL
But it shouldn’t be surprising this newly created position went to Andrew (Aj) Rinaldi who has worked part time for the city in the past. OMG
For his master’s degree research, Rinaldi studied three municipalities using social media to engage citizens.
He hopes to use that research to shape a social media strategy for Toledo.
The Bowling Green State University graduate talked with me via email (how appropriate) after starting his job in September.
“I have a passion for what I do with social media and the City of Toledo, and I bring with me relationships with other cities who are willing to partner and help with our social media efforts and the knowledge of best practices to ensure we are successful right out the gate,” Rinaldi said.
His goal is for citizens, media and employees visiting Toledo’s social media and website to get information about what the city is doing before they get it from other resources, he said.
Rinaldi has been on Facebook since December 2004, just 10 months after the social media site was officially launched.
His first tweet was in July 2009, with his current Twitter handle, ajrinaldi.
“The inspiration was to keep it easy and simple enough for a person to remember and professional,” he said.
This practical guy has 484 Facebook friends, which demonstrates he is rather selective. But he tries not to take himself too seriously. For instance, he hasn’t untagged himself in any pictures he finds embarrassing or unprofessional.
“I was out with a few friends and we decided to go dancing. A couple of friends thought it would be funny to snap a picture of me and post online and tag me without my knowing till after it was taken,” he said.
Rinaldi said there are a number of contenders for the next big thing in social media. Google+ is still new and he expects to see more creative platforms like Pinterest and Instagram.
He also anticipates a platform to merge all social networks into one stream. He just started using Glos.si, which is a living magazine for social networks.
These new platforms could eventually be intertwined into Toledo’s social media strategy.
“I would like Toledo’s social media to become a benchmark, where other cities want to come and see how we do it, to learn and improve their social media,” Rinaldi said.