It would be an understatement to suggest that a lot has changed since then. Every so often I enjoy looking back on what we have as a city been able to collectively accomplish and what we have in store for the future. If you read my last blog entry you may recall that I grew up and have lived all over the United States. Friends and family who know my story find it odd that I identify the City of Madera as my hometown. A hometown is not based on where you were born. That’s your birthplace. It’s not about where you got your first job, experienced your first kiss, or broke your first bone. As unforgettable as these moments might be (—hopefully for the better!), they ultimately only make up a very small piece of the picture that becomes your story.
I am in a unique position as a City Administrator. I have the single best job in the world. I get to help lead the team that works tirelessly to move the needle in our community. I am fortunate in that my work often makes people’s lives better. This feels much more like my purpose than my career. Serving in this capacity speaks to my heart; Madera is where my heart lives.
What is #MaderaProud and where did it come from? #MaderaProud is a feeling. A cheer for the hometown team. It is a hashtag campaign that can summarize an exciting homegrown victory in only a few characters. What it means to you may be very different than what it means to me but one thing that we can agree on— it conveys a message of positivity, optimism and excitement. And that is precisely what it is intended to do. For the sake of full disclosure, here’s some backstory. #MaderaProud was born by accident.
Several years ago, after much internal discussion, the City decided it was time to get with the program and jump into social media. I will admit, we were a little late to the game. We tend to be on the conservative side when it comes to spending and tight resources meant putting our best foot forward in this new digital world was going to present a new challenge. After much deliberation, City Council adopted a social media policy in 2013 and we immediately hit the ground running to enhance our online communications, identifying and assigning dedicated representatives from select departments to manage the City’s online presence. Though this was a great start, we knew from the beginning that if we were going to do this social media thing right we needed to begin adopting the use of new mediums in our efforts to create engaging content.
Just over a year ago, at the direction of our then mayor, Robert Poythress, the City’s creative team worked to piece together an informative video to be debuted during Robert’s presentation at the Madera County Economic Development Commission’s State of the County event. The concept of the video was to call out the challenges faced by the City and demonstrate how Maderan’s do not give up when the going gets tough. The clip was very well received! Immediately following the event we planned to release the State of the City video to social media to share the message with the masses.
As it was explained to me (in a nutshell), posts crafted for social media should be 1.) precise, 2.) engaging, 3.) real. Facebook specifically has, in recent years, made many adjustments to its model in relation to how users are exposed to content – but I digress. The main takeaway is that though a page may have 10,000+ followers, Facebook ultimately determines how and when users will see content in their news feed. Using the recipe outlined above, your chances of visibility are greatly increased.
The member of our creative team tasked with posting the State of the City video was having trouble putting into words the positive energy felt in the room when the video was debuted. After several failed attempts to write something that felt right, our content editor became frustrated and ultimately decided to avoid the dilemma altogether by erasing everything but the last two words of drafted text: “#MaderaProud”.
Great ideas are not always intentional! Perhaps we can expand on this more in my next blog if there is interest, but for now, I would like to leave you with this thought…
It all starts with us. Our community is a direct reflection of our combined efforts to create an atmosphere we all want to be a part of. This is an invitation to you! #MaderaProud is more than words, it’s a movement focused on creating positive momentum in our city during a time of monumental change. In closing, I invite you to join the celebration and contribute to the #MaderaProud campaign by sharing your local victories and good vibes with the world. Be #MaderaProud.