Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media


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An overview of the use of social media tools in the public works sector. This presentation covers the current culture and outlook and offers tips and advice for understanding the Gov2.0 culture shift. The document also offers ideas about using social media to better deliver government and public works services.

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  • The title of this presentation is Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media. My name is Pam Broviak, and I am currently the city engineer/assistant director of public works for the city of Geneva in Illinois. I have worked in the public works industry for about the past 27 years.
  • The title of our industry does a great job describing exactly what we do. And there are several significant points to be made about what we actually do: First our everyday work can involve significant amounts of time handling both public concerns or questions and directing or carrying out work. (How much of your time is spent in each of these primary tasks?) Next, these two aspects of our jobs can require totally different skill sets. Which brings us to the next slide:
  • I am going to start off this with the Public portion of our job – the side of our job that some might say is the most challenging. But why is this?We usually receive education and training for the works portion but rarely receive any prior education or training and usually no prior warning about the public side of our job. This public side can also be referred to as customer service, and with little to no training are we surprised to hear of dissatisfaction from the public about government workers? And it should not surprise us that we are most challenged in this area.
  • So we end up in a job that some days includes varying amounts of customer/citizen interactions, and yet, there is a good chance we are not adequately prepared for this challenge. Many of these interactions take place face to face while others are over the phone, through letters, or e-mail. Some people might be naturally good at this type of thing, but for many of us, we learn to do this through on-the-job training. And because this takes up so much of our time, it becomes an important aspect of our job. So at some point we are obligated to ask ourselves, how successful have we been?
  • But communication is a two-way street, and there’s another side to this story. Those who are excellent at all this can do all of this perfectly but in the end still have a very unhappy customer. Why?
  • There is a significant lack of education at any level about government. So people grow up not knowing what to expect from government. And no one ever tells them that being a citizen of a community involves acceptance of certain responsibilities.
  • Up until now many of us have managed to handle this aspect of our work with only a few bumps in the road. But now comes along this thing called social media and all of a sudden anyone can talk about anything to anyone anytime. Before now, people had to make a trip to city hall, write a letter, or make a phone call. Even sending an e-mail seemed to create a type of filter. Only people who really, really wanted to engage government, put forth the required effort. Now people in our industry are faced with online billboards advertising all sorts of ideas, comments, complaints. Some justified; some maybe not so justified. And what has been the reaction in the public works camp?
  • This year was the first that I have started hearing reactions to social media from our industry. This slide shows a few of the reactions I have overheard from agencies scattered around the US. Bloggers have started posting information or opinions about issues related to public works. Politicians are reacting and directing public works staff to address the blogger’s concerns. Many times disrupting work schedules.
  • While others have either embraced the idea of social media or at least have tentatively launched efforts of their own.
  • The important point to get out of all this is that something significant and historic is happening. You can choose to ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist, but it will not go away. Our culture is in transition, and at some point it will begin to affect you, if it hasn’t already. We are still in the early stages, although things are ramping up. You still have time to “get your feet wet” as Gary Holm said in his first blog post. Others are still finding their way too. You can hear some of the shift in thinking in this short video clip.
  • There is a significant shift in attitude also among those working in government. Over the last year or so, several online communities have been created specifically for helping those in government adopt and implement this shift.
  • But remember the second part of our initial problem: a significant lack of civic education. So this is where you come in – this is where you must come in. For all of this to work, those working in government need to join with those represented by government. You have the knowledge and the training to help citizens. We work for them. And actually this is where social media helps you. The more voices you help introduce or the more people you encourage to participate, the more democratic the process. Because if it is only one voice, even if it is online, that one voice might not be representative of the community.
  • I introduced all this because it’s easy to show someone how to get started using social media. But to be successful, it is important to have a good understanding of this cultural shift and the importance of your participation. So I am going to give you a few easy and simple ideas of what you can do to begin reaching out to citizens in your community. This first slide covers blogging. I am not going to go into the steps required to set up your blog since this talk is supposed to be more about actually using the tool. Instead, on this slide, I have listed ideas for beginning posts on your own blog. Once you get going, like Mr. Holm, you will get the hang of it.
  • By writing your own blog, you get used to the tool and the “culture” of blogging. The other side of this is that others will also be blogging about you and the work you do. So even if you don’t start your own blog, at some point you should decide if you are going to ignore, monitor, or join in these other discussions. My personal decision has been to join in, and so far, it has been the right decision for me. But each of you must make that decision on your own and as a department and as an agency. If you decide to join in, I would recommend adopting a simple social media policy and then taking some time to practice commenting.
  • Twitter has been much more widely adopted by public works departments. It’s easy to set up, and takes little time to update. There are many examples out there already. Basically you can post quick, short messages about issues you want the public to be aware of.
  • Slideshare is another tool you can use to share presentations. Many of us create presentations all year long to help explain projects, regulations, reports, and other concepts or ideas. Here’s your chance to offer training and education for your citizens. Slideshare also allows you to embed the presentations on your Website so once you create an account and upload your document, you can copy the code and paste it on your Website. Then anyone visiting your Website can access your file directly.
  • Here’s a copy of the Washington DOT page on Slideshare
  • Here is a screenshot from the Washington State DOT’s Flickr page. Again, a great agency to emulate.
  • Here’s an example from Oklahoma City’s You Tube page
  • I spent a lot of time on the public interaction side of this since I believe this is where you will be most challenged. But these tools and this culture can be brought into the “Works” side of our jobs too. Blogs can be used to create digital project diaries. And photo and video sites can be used for in-house training and documentation.
  • A wiki is a powerful tool that is currently used to engage the public, but it can also be used to organize and document your institutional knowledge.
  • The power of a wiki is that it allows your agency to set up an interactive document that can contain as many pages and links as you need. And all of it can be set up to allow for editing and access permissions. Each page can contain interactive maps and links that take you to documents stored on your own servers or your public Websites. Everything can be up to date and served up real time. Pages like the one shown can be established for projects, developments, agreements, reports, assets, operation manuals etc.
  • Virtual worlds are another social media tool available to those working in public works. Although not yet widely used there is a great opportunity in virtual worlds for training and networking. And as the technology in this area becomes better developed, virtual worlds will assist in the design process.
  • Second Life has building tools that allow for design
  • Second Life also has tools that help train or emulate operations
  • A “how to get started” resource
  • My contact information
  • Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media

    1. 1. Enhancing<br /> Public Works Services Using<br /> Social Media<br />Pam Broviak, P.E.<br />City Engineer/Assistant Director of Public Works, Geneva, IL<br />
    2. 2. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />Public<br />Works<br />What percentage of your time is spent with the public?<br /> With carrying out work?<br />
    3. 3. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />Have we received any training in:<br /><ul><li>Public Engagement?
    4. 4. Public Collaboration?
    5. 5. Public Interaction?
    6. 6. Public Communication?</li></ul>For many of us, not since grade school<br />
    7. 7. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />So how have we handled our customers?<br />E-mail<br />Face-to-face<br />Phone<br />Letters<br />
    8. 8. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />But even if you are a communication God, you can still have unhappy customers.<br />Why?<br />
    9. 9. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br /> Lack of education about government<br /> so people are raised with unrealistic expectations<br />& don’t realize citizens have responsibilities too<br />
    10. 10. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />So along comes social media waving the public involvement flag<br />And the first reaction among many seems to be:<br /><ul><li>Uncertainty
    11. 11. Hesitation
    12. 12. Denial
    13. 13. Fear</li></li></ul><li>Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />Reactions to Social Media I have overheard from other agencies<br />“Local Terrorists”<br />“Electronic Crap”<br />“Bloggers kicking your butt”<br />“Daily tearing up my department”<br />
    14. 14. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />Yet we see some blazing a different path<br />Blog by: Gary Holm, P.E. Director of Public Works, City of Batavia, IL<br />
    15. 15. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />Culture shift<br />Let us get together to do things ourselves. <br />
    16. 16. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />“Particularly in government … it is nothing less than an obligation on our part to embrace every possible means to serve the public better, faster, and cheaper than anyone has ever thought possible.” - Dannielle Blumenthal, GovLoop<br />
    17. 17. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />“There go my people. I must find out where they are going so I can lead them.”<br />- French politician AlexandreLedru-Rollin<br />(Thanks to Adriel Hampton for sharing that quote!)<br />
    18. 18. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />Agency BLOGS<br /><ul><li>Promote and explain projects
    19. 19. Notifications for emergencies & unplanned work
    20. 20. Explanation of historical community decisions
    21. 21. Public hearing notifications
    22. 22. Summarize reports
    23. 23. Educate & remind residents about regulations
    24. 24. Notifications about permit work or work by other agencies</li></li></ul><li>Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />Public<br /> BLOGS<br /><ul><li>Understand they are not going away & can influence
    25. 25. Decide on level of participation
    26. 26. Develop simple social media policy
    27. 27. Practice commenting</li></li></ul><li>Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />twitter<br /><ul><li>Road closures
    28. 28. Emergency work
    29. 29. Emergency notifications
    30. 30. Construction information
    31. 31. Links to blog posts</li></li></ul><li>Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />Use Slideshare to inform & educate<br />Upload presentations about:<br /><ul><li>Projects
    32. 32. Regulations
    33. 33. Plans
    34. 34. Reports
    35. 35. Concepts/ideas</li></ul>http://www.slideshare.net<br />
    36. 36. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />
    37. 37. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />http://www.flickr.com<br />http://www.youtube.com<br />Use Flickr & You Tube to inform & educate<br />Upload photos/videos about:<br /><ul><li>Projects
    38. 38. Regulations
    39. 39. Plans
    40. 40. Reports
    41. 41. Concepts/ideas</li></li></ul><li>Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />Again, Washington State DOT is a great agency to emulate<br />
    42. 42. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />
    43. 43. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />Using social media internally – for the “works” portion of your job<br />A blog format can be used to create a digital project diary<br />You can also use photo and video sites for in-house training or documentation<br />
    44. 44. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />Wikis for Information Organization<br />Wikis can be set up and used to document and organize institutional knowledge<br />
    45. 45. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br /><ul><li>Preliminary Plat Submitted 1-4-2009
    46. 46. Final Plans submitted 3-15-2009
    47. 47. Final Plans approved 4-30-2009
    48. 48. As-built plans submitted 8-3-2009
    49. 49. Final Plat Submitted 9-5-2009
    50. 50. Related Local Agency Agreements
    51. 51. Related Annexation Agreements
    52. 52. Letter of Credit </li></ul>City of Example<br />Demo Subdivision<br />
    53. 53. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />Virtual Worlds<br /><ul><li>There are currently hundreds of virtual worlds
    54. 54. Most are targeted at the under 20 crowd
    55. 55. But adults are using several for training and design </li></li></ul><li>Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />design<br />
    56. 56. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />operations<br />
    57. 57. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />RESOURCES<br />http://www.publicworksgroup.com/node/12<br />Free e-book for those just getting started in the use of social media<br />
    58. 58. Enhancing Public Works Services Using Social Media<br />Contact Information:<br />Pam Broviak, PE<br />City of Geneva<br />630-232-1539<br />pbroviak@geneva.il.us<br />TRADITIONAL<br />Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pbroviak<br />Second Life: Pam Renoir, CivilE Writer, Pam Ock<br />Skype: pam.renoir<br />Blog: http://www.publicworksgroup.com/blog<br />LinkedIn & other networks: Pam Broviak<br />Slides at: http://www.slideshare.net/publicworksgroup<br />NEW MEDIA<br />
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