Online Media Specialist
Courtney Sloger would like St. Louis to know its transit agency is listening. Sloger, the first online media specialist at Metro St. Louis, was hired in November 2009 to usher the organization into the age of social and online media at a critical time in Metro’s history. Metro had introduced its first long-range transit plan to the public, had experienced 30 percent cuts in service and had a transit sales tax initiative on the ballot for April 2010 following a loss in November 2008. Social media could be an effective means to educate the public, instill the agency’s focus on transparency and engage transit advocates and partners in the region. Car-free since 2005, Sloger advocates on behalf of fellow transit riders to foster a closer relationship between the community and the agency from the perspective of an avid transit rider.
Sloger became the editor of Metro’s transit blog, NextStop, and reported service changes, long-range plan updates, rider stories and alternative transportation news. She also created and monitored the Agency’s Twitter presence, @STLMetro, her Twitter account @STLTransit, Facebook page, YouTube channel, and Flickr and Scribd accounts. Sloger encourages readers and followers to voice their concerns and provide open feedback on agency decisions. In turn, she works closely with Customer Service, Planning, and Transit Operations departments to track customer concerns, provide immediate service updates, and connect with partners for community initiatives. The transit sales tax initiative passed by 63 percent, with much credit given to social media engagement.
In the last year and a half, Metro’s social media reach has tripled, and is recognized by users as a reliable, timely source of service information and customer interaction. During a recent ice storm, Sloger provided around-the-clock updates, earning praise from customers and community partners such as the city of St. Louis. The Center for Transportation Excellence webinar on social media regarded Metro St. Louis as having a “genuine, impressive social media and blog presence.” In 2010, St. Louis magazine The Riverfront Times nominated Metro for two Web Awards: “Best Local Activism Blog: NextStop” and “Best Use of Twitter to Promote a Business or Organization: @STLMetro.” Sloger also works with local young professional and advocate groups to create positive social events for transit such as Carfree Happy Hours, MothUp STL: Transit Love, PBS videos and the MetroLink Prom. In December 2010, Sloger coordinated Metro’s first Holiday Train, a project crowd-sourced through social media and featuring two onboard concerts in partnership with local radio station 88.1 KDHX.
In addition to her online efforts, Sloger works closely with local active transportation and sustainability groups, serving as the youngest board of director of Sustainable St. Louis and other green groups around St. Louis. She also serves on the Steering Committee for the St. Louis Regional Bike Plan, and the Technical Committee for the Maline Greenway. Sloger chairs Metro’s Sustainability Committee to develop and implement the Agency’s commitment to sustainable business practices. Through her social engagement work and life, Sloger proves herself an invaluable advocate of public transit.
“In my job, I work with everyone from marketing to maintenance. I have never worked in an industry with so much passion for their work, customers and coworkers, and I love learning from different departments' perspectives.”
“I see public transit continuing to grow as we realize that multi-modal land use is more sustainable than autocentric development. I think also that people benefit from the community experience of riding public transit, and as our lives are more heavily digitized, these public spaces will become more valuable to people.”