I’ve witnessed a measurable shift lately in how government agencies approach social media. As expectations grow among public users, government agencies are beginning to embrace this quest as their own. Instead of asking “what” or “why,” they’re asking “how.” How do they get beyond internal culture, technology issues and legal barriers and begin the conversation?
Steve Kelman, author of Federal Computer Week’s The Lectern blog, also notes this shift.
“I think we’ve reached the tipping point, when the question is not whether government should embrace social networking technologies, but how most productively to use them — inside agencies (to build social capital, as tools for communities of practice, and so forth) and between agencies and the public — to promote higher-quality government. “How,” of course, includes dealing with cybersecurity, loafing on the job, and other issues that worry many in government. But that dialogue has to be in the context of how, not whether. The time for debating whether to embrace social media should be past.”
More and more resources are becoming available to government agencies to understand risks, how to mitigate them and best practices in social media use among government. A few of my favorite resources:
Facebook and Government – Earlier this month, Facebook launched a new page to provide information about how governments can best use Facebook. The page contains links to resources and agencies already on Facebook.
New Media Across Government – Found on the U.S. government’s YouTube channel, this video highlights social media efforts at The White House and other federal government agencies.
Secure Use of Social Media – This document by The Federal Chief Information Officers Council provides guidelines for social media use by federal agencies in a manner that minimizes risks.
Apps.gov – The White House recently announced via its blog this new online source meant to help agencies “harness the power of today’s technology.” Social media applications, as well as how to request approval for agency use, are available on the site.
Webcontent.gov – Provides background on various forms of social media as well as additional resources for government agencies.
Twitter Takes Wings – In addition to providing a basic overview of Twitter, this story from Government Computer News makes the case for government participation in online areas where people are gathering. In addition, it discusses alternative services for project management or internal communications.
GovTwit – This online directory is a one-stop resource for all parts of the U.S. government on Twitter.
GovLoop – GovLoop is a social networking site specific to the government community. According to the site, it connects more than 14,500 federal, state, local, academics and good contractors.