Cuts push courts to Facebook & Twitter - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Cuts push courts to Facebook & Twitter

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The verdict is in Facebook and Twitter are a hit for the court system. The Hawaii court system is dabbling in social media launching its own Facebook and Twitter accounts and its saving taxpayer's money.

"It's a very low effort way for everybody to share the information and get a lot more sunshine a lot more eyeballs on things," said Russell Castagnaro, eHawaii.gov General Manager.

Social media is more than a guilty pleasure. If you go to the Hawaii courts Twitter page you'll find court documents, legal opinions and more. Things you would have found at the law library or pay for on national databases.

"We had to be more innovative to continue our service for the public," said Marsha Kitagawa, Hawaii State Judiciary Public Affairs Director.

Kitagawa came up with the idea after her budget was slashed and half her staff was laid off the other half furloughed so enter Facebook and Twitter.

"The online media, Twitter feed and Facebook, really helps us in a cost effective way continue to be accessible to the public as well as be more transparent," said Kitagawa.

Better yet, their new website is saving taxpayers about $22 thousand a year. And they've stopped printing a newsletter which saves even more time and money.

But with only 104 Twitter followers and 150 Facebook fans the trick is spreading the word.

"Well it is relatively new and I'm a dinosaur when it comes to online social media so I'm learning about the potential and although our fans are relatively low I hope that will grow and I that's my priority at the moment," said Kitagawa.

"The site as cool as it is, as functional as it is, it's really just tipping our toes in the whole space," said Castagnaro. "Bench warrants are being served and sent out electronically. I think you're going to see more movement towards that in the near future in fact what's going to happen in the judiciary is going to blow people away."

Leave it to the courts to set the precedent for government offices.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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