Mayor Gayle Recognizes VSU Social Media Students

Mayor John Gayle honored the winners of the 2016 Valdosta Social Media Contest—an educational partnership between the City of Valdosta and Valdosta State University to propose the best social media strategy for its local government. VSU students Kaitlyn Linginfelter, Christian Flick, Brian Donaldson, Anthony Stone and Rachel Elzey each received a framed certificate, an official city coin and a professional letter of recommendation from the Mayor.

Recognizing that organizations all over the world — including municipalities — are using social media to communicate with increasingly diverse and large audiences, the city’s Public Information Office continued a partnership with VSU’s Social Media Theory class that began in 2015. Taught by Dr. David Nelson, the students were divided into groups and tasked with developing a realistic social media plan that targeted and engaged millennials in their local government. The project, judged by the city’s Public Information Office, constituted a large part of their overall class grade and provided a real-life experience for the university students. 

Group #4 students provided the Public Information Office with innovative ideas for reaching citizens between 20-36, who use social media as their primary source of communication, and who seek a significant role in their community. The plan includes creatively building upon the city’s current social media strategy, producing engaging messages, photos and social media “events,” and utilizing a VSU campus representative and student/citizen spotlights.
The team’s outstanding ideas are being implemented and will significantly impact the way the local government communicates more effectively with its citizens. Overall, these efforts have demonstrated the city’s continued efforts to provide applicable experiences to our local university students, as well as the city’s commitment to engage all citizens in local government.
social media group photoIn Group Photo: Mayor John Gayle presents certificates to the winners of the 2016 Valdosta Social Media Contest on May 9, 2016. In photo (from left) are Kaitlyn Linginfelter, Christian Flick, Mayor John Gayle, Brian Donaldson, Anthony Stone and VSU Social Media Theory Professor Dr. David Nelson. Not pictured is VSU student Rachel Elsey.
For more information or for other educational opportunities in local government, contact Public Information Officer Sementha Mathews at 229-259-3548 or visit