Mixing Web 1.0 and 2.0 for Earth Day


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Social media tools offer new ways to engage the public in protecting the environment. But the point is still good communication, not just using cool tech.

For Earth Day, the US Environmental Protection Agency uses a mix of Web 1.0 tools like home page banners and email lists and Web 2.0 concepts like widgets and podcasts to help people protect the environment.

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  • Based on our experiences in planning for the previous Earth Day Month, we started well in advance. This was six months or more ago, so I’m trying to remember the things we did. :-)
  • We already had a set of daily tips, that I had developed a year earlier. We updated a few tips, reorganized the list, and posted the pages. We also set up a link for users to sign up on Gov Delivery to get the daily tip email. We’ll probably do this again next year.
  • We didn’t just post tips, we also linked each tip back to online EPA content. This way, each tip really functions as a TEASER to lead users to deeper, more detailed information about health or the environment.
  • We built on the tips subscribers list that we had from the previous year, and ended up with over 1600 subscribers by the end of the month. We emailed each tips daily, even on weekends, and we covered for each other as needed. I set up a master list of how-to-send-tips and how to use GovDelivery.
  • We used other resources to send out information, too. Even more thousands subscribe to our GoGreen monthly public newsletter. In the April 1 edition, we included information and links to the tips and other items, like the Photo Contest. Each item in GoGreen always links to more EPA information… no dead-end messages or reminders.
  • In addition to emailing the tips each day, we also cut them up into individual chunks and made a DAILY TIP WIDGET. This allowed people to post the daily tips on THEIR Web pages. It automatically shows a new tip each day.
  • Weeks later, we looked at the usage of the widget… we found it got half a million views a month. This is how many people’s eyes saw the widget. But we don’t know how many Web pages the widget was added to.
  • We also chose eight of the tips to be used as topic of a short audio recording PODCAST series. Each podcast was a short, scripted production of a couple of minutes that briefly discussed the topic of that tip to engage the listener. They were also recorded to be timeless, so we could keep them online as long as we liked. They didn’t say, “in 2008…” My coworker actually got them into iTunes. I’m not sure how that happened, but it was very successful. One of the tips got 7000 “hits” or listens.
  • We made other widgets too… even as we we started the blog Question Of The Week at the END of earth day month. Each widget linked to more information.
  • The blog, too, included some mentions of Earth Day but not a great deal. Our blog entries usually have links to EPA content… again, the teaser effect for people who want to know more.
  • We used Flickr the Web 2.0 online photo-sharing system to host a photo contest. This was not directly related to the tips, but we did give it a clear environmental theme. We were very careful upfront, however, to be clear about the useage and rights EPA expected for submitted or finalist photographs.
  • But we didn’t “expect” people to just FIND the stuff! At the start of Earth Day Month, we put out a short news release that simply told about all the things that we were going to do. Reporters especially read news releases. They in turn may find information to push out to the public.
  • We pulled together a lot of areas: we thought about existing EPA information that people could actually use. It wasn’t just about a 2-minute podcast but how a podcast can be used to lead people to information about health and the environment. we had team mambers with experience in surfing the Web, knowledge of EPA programs, and how to create Web pages. we publicized what we were doing, during and after. No one had to accidently find out about any of it.
  • Mixing Web 1.0 and 2.0 for Earth Day

    1. 1. EPA’s Earth Month 2010 Mixing Web 1.0 & 2.0
    2. 2. Web 2.0 is a Set of Tools <ul><li>Just like Web 1.0, use as appropriate </li></ul><ul><li>Focus first on the mission, not the tools </li></ul><ul><li>Mix ‘em up as needed </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t go nuts </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure you understand before using, but also try stuff out </li></ul>
    3. 3. EPA and Earth Day 2010 (Remember communications 101) <ul><li>Goal: Get people to protect the environment </li></ul><ul><li>Audience: everyone </li></ul><ul><li>Side goal: conserve limited resources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Repackage existing content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build on past efforts </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. We began gathering ideas and planning in late January (Earth Day month is April)
    5. 5. In 2007, we created daily tips. The tips page had an email “subscribe” link. epa.gov/earthday/tips.htm
    6. 6. Each tip linked to Web 1.0 content
    7. 7. We emailed a tip each day – weekends, too. By April 2010, 40,000 people had subscribed
    8. 8. We also highlighted items in other places. In 2010, the GoGreen! Newsletter went to about 60,000 subscribers. epa.gov/gogreen
    9. 9. In 2008, we created a tips widget. People added it to their Web pages. epa.gov/widgets
    10. 10. It gets over 1 million views/month! Publicity = more people getting information
    11. 11. In 2009, we recorded all 30 tips as podcasts. English and Spanish. - over 16,000 “downloads” in April 2009
    12. 12. In 2009, we also invited people to commit to action with “Pick 5 for the Environment.” In 2010, we revamped & went international. Pick 5 concept: April 3 Pick 5 launch: April 22
    13. 13. We put “Pick 5” where people go – Facebook, Flickr facebook.com/epapick5 2800 fans flickr.com/groups/epapick5/ 109 members, 700 photos We initially also tried a YouTube group, but didn’t get much
    14. 14. In 2010, we created a participatory video project : It’s My Environment
    15. 15. It’s My Environment <ul><li>In 10 seconds, show a simple environmental action and pass a sign across the screen </li></ul><ul><li>We provided signs in 18 languages </li></ul><ul><li>Repeatedly promoted in Facebook, Twitter, and email </li></ul><ul><li>Accepted initial entries March 15-April 15 </li></ul><ul><li>Published first compilation on Earth Day (April 22) </li></ul><ul><li>Results </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Instructional/promo video has 4000 views (3 rd -most-viewed) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>87 initial entries, 41 in first compilation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Several entries in other languages (including sign language) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>First compilation has 3400 views </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Still accepting entries, & we’ll do more compilations </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.epa.gov/earthday/video </li></ul>
    16. 16. Use Secondary Content <ul><li>Reminder: goal was to get people to protect the environment </li></ul><ul><li>Primary content: tips </li></ul><ul><li>Secondary content gets people excited </li></ul>
    17. 17. We have other widgets .
    18. 18. Blog entries mentioned Earth Day blog.epa.gov
    19. 19. In 2008 and 2009, we did photo projects. Flickr helped manage public viewing and we featured photos on our site.
    20. 20. <ul><li>EPA Launches Interactive Web Tools in Celebration of Earth </li></ul><ul><li>Month EPA to Public: Earth Day is Every Day </li></ul><ul><li>Release date: 04/02/2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Contact Information: Enesta Jones, 202-564-7873 / 4355 / jones.enesta@epa.gov; En español: Lina Younes, 202-564-4355 / younes.lina@epa.gov </li></ul><ul><li>(Washington, D.C. – April 1, 2009) The first Earth Day started 39 years ago when 20 million Americans decided we needed to do something about our environment. To begin Earth Month, EPA is launching several on-line communication tools to help educate Americans about how to protect their health and their environment. </li></ul><ul><li>Here is a list of several interactive tools that are currently available on EPA's Earth Day site ( http://www.epa.gov/earthday ): </li></ul><ul><li>Daily environmental tips via email: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/tips.htm </li></ul><ul><li>Put the environmental tips widget on your own Web page, blog, or social networking profile: http://www.epa.gov/widgets/ </li></ul><ul><li>Listen to the daily audio tip podcast from EPA employees around the country. The podcast will be available for download and for free subscription on iTunes: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/podcasts/ </li></ul><ul><li>Join us around the country or get our take home kit: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/events.htm </li></ul>In previous years, we sent news briefs. In 2010, we emailed 60,000 people. We didn’t just hope people would find stuff.
    21. 21. <ul><li>Combined Web 1.0 and 2.0 to push existing content. </li></ul><ul><li>Created opportunities for people to contribute. </li></ul><ul><li>Used a variety of skills: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Program information, podcasts, graphics, news writing, Web page coding, management input . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Linked – up and down. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tips >Web pages, Web pages >Tips </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Publicized. And people picked it up. </li></ul>Summary
    22. 22. Contact info <ul><li>EPA Earth Day Online </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Earth Day: http://www.epa.gov/earthday </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pick 5 for the Environment: http://www.epa.gov/pick5 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>EPA blog, Greenversations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Our site: http://blog.epa.gov </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter: http://twitter.com/greenversations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s My Environment: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/video </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Jeffrey Levy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter: http://twitter.com/levyj413 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Slideshare (presentation slides, including this one): http://slideshare.net/levyj413 </li></ul></ul>