Despite the explosion of Facebook and Twitter use in the general population, the study's initial results showed only about half of the 79 cities had jumped on the social media bullet train: Just 50% of the cities had a Facebook presence, while 56% were on Twitter.
Of the cities that had established themselves on Facebook or Twitter, just a handful were making any real dent in citizen outreach. Only 13 cities had more than 500 fans on Facebook, and a mere 7 cities claimed more than 500 Twitter followers.
There appear to be multiple reasons for the foot-dragging according the Fels Institute report, including concerns about the potential for public criticism, legal issues, workload, and general cost to the often cash-strapped towns. But the benefits of social media outreach, according to the researchers, outweigh the potential downsides.