Rushville, IL – Rushville's website has been operational intermittently for the past few months, and is currently down. But the city has another online source of information available -- you just have to sign up to view it.
Mayor Scott Thompson created a Facebook fan page for the city a couple of years ago to take advantage of the growing popularity of the social networking site. As of Tuesday, the page had 653 "fans." He says it serves as a virtual community bulletin board, where people can post information about news and events.
But despite it's popularity, Thompson says the page will never replace an official city website.
"A dot-com website has many more strengths on the economic and community development side than a Facebook page," says Thompson. "You can go to Facebook and search for us, but you might not necessarily find us if you Google us."
Facebook allows users to select which alerts they'd like to receive via e-mail. Thompson says many of Rushville's "fans" choose to receive updates from the page, which he says is more convenient when the city needs to get information out immediately. He says a traditional dot-com website would require more searching and clicking, and would not be instantaneous.
He says the page allows an outlet for residents to help each other find information. For example, he says a resident recently posted a question about Smiles Day -- an inquiry which was quickly answered by another resident.
But being on Facebook is about more than just posting information about news and events. He says it's a way for residents to easily give feedback, both positive and negative... within reason.
"If somebody takes up an issue with the city of Rushville, that's absolutely fine," says Thompson. "It's just that when it becomes profane in my view, which would mean using swear words or accusing someone of criminal activity when there's been no accusation made, that's when it crosses the line."
Thompson says the page is also a good way for former residents to keep in touch with people who still live in the area.
Thompson administers both the Facebook fan page and the city's currently defunct website. He says he'll work to get the official city page up and running this week.