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Using Social Media to Enhance Civic Participation: Executive Summary and Guidance Tools

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This document is an abridged version of our full report Using Social Media to Enhance Civic Engagement in U.S. Federal Agencies, and includes our executive summary of findings and recommendations as well as a set of tools that agencies can use to help with implementation.

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Using Social Media to Enhance Civic Participation: Executive Summary and Guidance Tools

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  8. 8. ! TCSCB3>'?US3S?;?UB'E?3TCU?=='SACT?' EXECUTIVE LEVEL OFFICIALS: How is your system structured to support enhanced civic participation? What executive level directives exist that support engaging citizens online? Are there any legal and access barriers hindering this work? What procurement guidelines exist around using social media tools for engagement? What government-wide coordinators and organizations exist that can support agencies in this work? What security guidelines exist to help deal with vulnerabilities in using tools? AGENCY LEADERS: How is engagement integrated into your organizations structure and culture? To what extent is this a priority in your organization? Who are the most committed individuals towards civic engagement through social media in your agency? How have they expressed their commitment? To what extent do people throughout the organization have personal experience with using social media? PROJECT LEADERS: How is your online strategy driven by your engagement goals? What are your engagement objectives? How will you know if you are successful, and what metrics will you use to measure your objectives? How do they further your organizations mission? How do your available tools follow and support your engagement objectives? How will you develop lessons learned from this project, and apply them to other projects? How will you integrate the results of this engagement into your organization? How will you respond to and incorporate citizen feedback? How will this project be staffed? Do you have the right skills and capacities at the table to meet your objectives? Do you have existing staff working on this, or will you have new resources to put towards it? CITIZENS: How ready, willing, and able are your constituents to engage with your agency? What data and records do your constituents have available to them to prepare for this work? - OPEN GOV What evidence to you have as to the capacity of your constituents to engage in this work? What are the rules of engagement? What is your targeted groups interest in/investment in this issue? What are their priorities in general? Does your agency have a pre-existing relationship with this group? ' "#$%&'!()*&+!,!-''#!")./! 0$&'1!2)3&#+!45*&#!6)!7'3.5#$5!8&9&3!:'1#15%5'6!&'!0;2;!(5*5.#+!-15'3&5$!
  9. 9. ! ! TCSCB3>'?US3S?;?UB'=BE3B?S*'!>3UU?E' STEP I: ISOLATE A PROBLEM OR QUESTION What problem are you trying to solve through digital engagement? STEP II: SET YOUR ENGAGEMENT GOALS Some examples include: 1. All/most/many of my constituents will have the information they need 2. We will get useful feedback on our policy that will lead to a higher quality product and will result in support from the community 3. Citizens will have the opportunity to interact with an inform policy, deepening the democratic process 4. Tapping into a low-cost and high quality source of information and creating a high quality product 5. Delegating the task of making decisions to the people that it will impact most 6. Experimenting with a new form of policy making STEP III: DETERMINE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE Do you need experts in a particular field or general citizens? Do they have access to data and records? Are they interested in/impacted by the issue? Is there a pre-existing relationship between the agency and constituent group? STEP IV: ARTICULATE YOUR CAPACITY What are your staffing and funding resources? (i.e. one full time person vs a part time person) How long are your resources available for? Does this period coincide with the period of planned engagement? Is this a long term engagement or a short term engagement? STEP V: SELECT YOUR TOOL Use a blog, twitter, or facebook to share information over a long period of time Create a blog and ask people to comment on your posts Set up an ideascale project to allow citizens to deliberate over a particular policy or course of action. ' "#$%&'!()*&+!,!-''#!")./! 0$&'1!2)3&#+!45*&#!6)!7'3.5#$5!8&9&3!:'1#15%5'6!&'!0;2;!(5*5.#+!-15'3&5$!
  10. 10. ! A=CUS'=P<C3>';?TC3'BPP>='BP'?UV3U<?'<CDC<'' !3EBC<C!3BCPU' ' TOOL 1.0 use of tool (Sharing 2.0 use of tool (Feedback, collaboration, deliberation, decision- Information) making) Blogs Using blogs to share information, Enabling comments on blogs without any opportunities for readers to provide comments or Discussing confusing policies, and giving constituents feedback opportunities to provide feedback Wikis Using wikis without the opportunity Creating structured assignments and projects for people to for people to participate participate in. People are either invited specifically based on their expertise, or the project is open to all, with clearly defined timelines and deliverables, a mechanism to vote, and an outline of how decisions will be made. Micro- Using twitter to post press releases Keeping up with relevant keywords and individuals and blogging or other bits of information without communicating with them via retweets or @ replies (Twitter) retweeting or having conversations with people Responding to @ replies Social Using facebook to share messages Enabling comments on posts networking and information without the (Facebook) opportunity for people to comment Enabling wall comments Data Releasing data in a non-machine Releasing relavent information in a machiene-readable format that mashups readable format (i.e. as a PDF, etc) anyone can use and analyze, creating additional value from the information Media- Releasing rich media on social Releasing rich media while giving people the opportunity to sharing media sites (youtube, flickr, itunes, comment. (video, etc) without the opportunity to photos, comment on them Allowing citizens to create content in collaboration with or for the podcasts) agency, and publishing it on social media sites. ' "#$%&'!()*&+!,!-''#!")./! 0$&'1!2)3&#+!45*&#!6)!7'3.5#$5!8&9&3!:'1#15%5'6!&'!0;2;!(5*5.#+!-15'3&5$!
  11. 11. ! EP>?='CU'TCSCB3>'?US3S?;?UB'!EPW?<B=ii' Engagement leader - Translates engagement goal into concrete strategy using digital tools and platforms. Develops metrics to assess the impact of engagement efforts. Community manager - Researches relevant online communities and builds bridges between agency and constituencies by developing on-going communications Social media developer - Turns engagement goals into a user experience by configuring and deploying social media tools, providing usable data and (where necessary) developing new software Digital mentor - Helps non-technical officers understand how to use online tools and platforms for the achievement of engagement goals Community communicator - Provides new content for the project’s online platforms including updates, reports, interviews and blog posts in order to create a unique ‘tone of voice’ for the project ! ! ! ! ! ! ! "#$%&'!()*&+!,!-''#!")./! 0$&'1!2)3&#+!45*&#!6)!7'3.5#$5!8&9&3!:'1#15%5'6!&'!0;2;!(5*5.#+!-15'3&5$!

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