Social Media And The Gov’t: A Brief Introduction

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I use this slide show with everyone: senior managers, staff, workshops, and conferences. …

I use this slide show with everyone: senior managers, staff, workshops, and conferences.

The talk is intentionally high-level, focusing on issues relevant to this audience, as opposed to providing detailed strategy or demonstrating specific tools.

The discussion is more detailed than the slides here.

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  • Jeffrey - well said - your comments map to what I'm getting from City, County managers.
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  • Stephanie: what I mean is that making money isn't usually the best reason to use social media tools, and even in gov't, saving money isn't usually the best reason.

    Rather, 'return on engagement' is a better goal. That is, how much are people talking about your agency, sharing your multimedia, joining your discussions, etc. for how much effort you're putting into it?

    I say 'usually' because in some narrow cases, monetary return on investment isn't such a bad thing, like having a contest to develop apps using your raw data, where you can estimate the value of the developer time spent in creating those apps. Or a video contest.
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  • Wondering if you could elaborate on 'ROI is usually the wrong question'?
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  • guest1298927a is WSDOT :) forgot to login.
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  • Good comment - thanks for expanding on the basic bullets! I use slides as launching pads, not complete sets of information. So when I deliver this presentation, I mention many specifics like these. Recruitment in particular is a favorite of mine.
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  • 1. Social Media and the Gov’t: A Brief Introduction Jeffrey Levy Director of Web Communications US EPA Rev 10/14
  • 2. What is Social Media? Anything online other than static content where the provider posts and the viewer absorbs
  • 3. Four Things to Remember • Social media is free like a puppy is free. • Social media is a set of tools. Don’t throw out the old just because you get something new. • We’re in the first pitch of a baseball game. • An expert is someone who knows one thing more than you do.
  • 4. What (tools)? Primary Use at EPA • Blogs & Discussion Forums • Twitter: Main | More • Facebook: Main | More • YouTube • Photo/Infographic sharing – Flickr – Instagram – Pinterest Secondary Use at EPA • LinkedIn • RSS • Contests ( • FourSquare • Wiki • Webinars, Twitter parties, Live Tweeting • Widgets Not Yet Used at EPA • Virtual worlds • Social news • Social bookmarking • Social gaming Formerly Used • Idea generation (IdeaScale)
  • 5. What (figuratively)? • Interaction (comments, photos, videos) • Collaboration (internal and external) • “Force Multiplier” through sharing • Tools for adults • The way business will be done
  • 6. Why? • Mission, mission, mission – So keep using older tools, too • It’s where the people are – > 4,000,000,000 daily YouTube views – > 1,000,000,000 active Facebook users • More direct connection to people • We’re 17,000. They’re 6,000,000,000. • Chance to hear what others are saying • Competitive advantage in information provision
  • 7. How? • It’s culture, not a tech issue • Trust: employees, the public • Develop some strategy, but not 400 pages • Experiment • Define tool-specific measures of success – It’s all about engagement – Return on investment is (usually) the wrong question
  • 8. How? (cont’d) • Be ready to fail (fast, small) • Be ready to succeed – Always ask “what’s next”? – Teach! • Embrace criticism (it’s almost all useful) • Accept that odd things will happen • Know the policy and governance framework • Acknowledge that fear, confusion, wonder, excitement are all normal
  • 9. Number One Recommendation LEARN
  • 10. How to Learn: Try It • • Twitter (to start, just follow people) • Facebook (try everything: groups, apps, causes, upload pics, add links, etc.) • Search for blog posts about social media • Post videos to YouTube, photos to Flickr, Documents to Scribd, slide decks to Slideshare • Listen to a few podcasts
  • 11. How to Convince Your Boss • Mission: use gov’t words, not technologies – Not Blog: “connecting with our stakeholders” – Not YouTube: “video where people can find it” • Stay high-level, not technical • More (oldie but goodie):
  • 12. How to Start Formal Projects • Review the stuff about culture • Thicken your skin • Start small, grow over time • Go to lunch with: – Your IT folks – Your attorneys – People who have found success
  • 13. Resources • HowTo.Gov: • list of fed-friendly terms of service: • Me – Twitter: – Slide presentations: – Email: • Twitter hashtags: – #gov20:!/search/%23gov20 – #socialgov: