Even your grandma’s got a Facebook page, but it may just take a couple of billionaires to finally build one for New York City.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently met with Mark Zuckerberg, the social network’s CEO, about using the company’s resources to help New Yorkers connect with one another – which could even lead to the Big Apple’s first official page.
“There’s a lot of potential there,” Bloomberg said Wednesday about working with Facebook, whose California offices he toured in October.
The mayor, speaking at a news conference about mortgage fraud, said the city needs to “make sure we’re leading” when it comes to online endeavors, including crowd sourcing. The term, which the mayor has used before, has to do with gathering ideas and information from many people into a single community. (Think Wikipedia.)
Despite Bloomberg’s willingness to embrace new technology, New York City remains behind the times when it comes to having its own Facebook page. (A handful of city agencies have their own, as does Bloomberg.) To expand its presence, the city has created a “chief digital officer” position at a reported $115,000-a-year salary to spearhead a “new media face” for New York.
The chief digital officer, Rachel Sterne, must write a report on the city’s social media efforts and how to enhance its website, NYC.gov.
Details about any Facebook-related partnership were sketchy Wednesday. Facebook would only say it was “excited to hear that Mayor Bloomberg has some innovative ideas for New York City,” a company spokesman said.
Other cities already have a traditional Facebook “fan” page, including Las Vegas, Boston and Pittsburgh.
New Yorkers interviewed by amNewYork said they would be happy to friend “New York.”
“I’m surprised there isn’t [a page] already,” said James Farrar, 32, of Brooklyn Heights, adding that New Yorkers should decide what goes on there.
Carlie Demelo, 27, of Prospect Heights, said she wants a page geared toward residents.
“What are you going to put up? Is it going to be a tourist thing? The last thing they need is something for tourists,” she said.
But she wouldn’t mind if Zuckerberg gives Bloomberg a few social-networking tips.
“He’s the guy who made billions of dollars in coming up with great ideas,” she said of Zuckerberg, “so he’ll have great ideas on how to connect New York with everyday New Yorkers.”
(With Theresa Juva and Dina Davis)