How to Run a Government Blog


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Jeffrey Levy of EPA on Government Blogging Using Greenversations Example

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  • How to Run a Government Blog

    1. From 30,000 feet to 3 feet: Running a Federal Blog
    2. Mission, Mission, Mission <ul><li>Why communicate? </li></ul><ul><li>What do they need to know? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you need to know? </li></ul>
    3. Why Blog? <ul><li>Put a human face on the big blank box </li></ul><ul><li>Share personal stories of environmental thinking (e.g., buying a car, gardening) </li></ul><ul><li>Share the breadth of gov’t work </li></ul><ul><li>Speak in a new way </li></ul><ul><li>Supplement , not replace, other channels </li></ul>
    4. Comments <ul><li>Simple, clear comment policy </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Be civil (don’t attack or use vulgar language) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t spam </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Stay on topic </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>EPA’s experience: 10 months, 5500 comments, 10 nasty ones </li></ul>
    5. Criticism <ul><li>You must accept it </li></ul><ul><li>It’s often useful </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“You’ve abandoned your mission” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“You’re ripping off Americans” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“This blog’s a waste of taxpayer dollars” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If you don’t, you’ve wasted your credibility </li></ul><ul><li>Takeaway: people appreciate you listening </li></ul>
    6. Blogs and Government <ul><li>39 Active Federal Agency Public-Facing Blogs </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Elected Official Blogs at All Levels </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li> provides advice on government blogs </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
    7. Really Interesting Jobs
    8. TSA: Operational Changes
    9. Library of Congress: Talking about Lincoln Photos
    10. EPA: Traveling on An Environmental Budget
    11. State Dept: Engaging Questions
    12. Putting a Human Face on Government <ul><li>6 Bloggers at </li></ul><ul><li>Colleen – Consumer information specialist </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Newbie bureaucrat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jake – Frequently Asked Questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rocker </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Joanne – Web content manager </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mom, lives on farm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nancy – TV, print and radio PSAs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Media whiz </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sam – Media specialist </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Southern belle, shopper </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sommer – Web content manager </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Midwesterner </li></ul></ul>
    13. Blogging at EPA: Then Flow of The River <ul><li>Author: Former Deputy Administrator Peacock </li></ul><ul><li>Subject: Managing EPA </li></ul><ul><li>Launch: July 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Whole new tone and style for gov’t </li></ul><ul><li>All Marcus: no ghost writing </li></ul><ul><li>Posted 2-3 times/week </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Archived at </li></ul></ul>
    14. Flow of the River: Launch Post For extra credit, identify all the words that would give hives to traditional public affairs
    15. Flow of the River: End Ended on Earth Day (April 22) 2008 to make way for new blog
    16. Blogging at EPA: Now Greenversations <ul><li>Authors: about 30 people </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Any EPA employee can write </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Posted, comments moderated by public affairs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reviewed only for serious legal issues </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Subject: personal perspective on EPA’s work </li></ul><ul><li>Launch: April 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Still no ghost writing </li></ul><ul><li>Daily posts </li></ul>
    17. Greenversations: What? <ul><li>Three weekly features </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Question of the Week (Monday) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gets the most comments: usually 50 or more </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Some have received hundreds of responses </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Advertised to 55,000 news release recipients </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Science Wednesday </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Run by research/development office </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bilingual Thursday </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>English/Spanish were in same post, now split </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Managed by our Hispanic Liaison w/three writers </li></ul></ul></ul>
    18. Greenversations: How? <ul><li>Write 200-400 words </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Makes writing easier </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emphasizes quick info, keeps readers interested </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forces linking to deeper info </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use personal stories ( another example ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Engages reader </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shows we’re people with families, mortgages, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shows how daily life intersects with environmentalism </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use informal tone </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think “party conversation” instead of “news conference” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This is hard at first: not what you’re used to </li></ul></ul>
    19. Greenversations: How? <ul><li>Share how your work and personal life connect </li></ul><ul><li>Include graphics, videos, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Use humor appropriately </li></ul><ul><li>Link to more detailed info (EPA and non-EPA) </li></ul><ul><li>Share a 2-sentence bio </li></ul><ul><li>Respond to comments </li></ul><ul><li>Help people find you by creating tags </li></ul>
    20. Greenversations: How? <ul><li>Don’t: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Replicate news releases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dump fact sheets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have others write for you </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get into sticky legal territory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Regs under development </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Open enforcement cases </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contradict or misrepresent EPA policy </li></ul></ul>
    21. Greenversations: Where <ul><li>Site: http:// </li></ul><ul><li>RSS: http:// /blog/feed </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter: </li></ul><ul><li>Widget for question of the week: </li></ul>
    22. Resources <ul><li> on social media </li></ul><ul><ul><li> other_tech.shtml </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Federal Web Managers Council papers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Barriers, solutions, examples </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> documents.shtml </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Social Media Subcouncil Bookmarks </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
    23. Contact info <ul><li>Jeffrey Levy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Email: [email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>EPA’s Blog, Greenversations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Main: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter: </li></ul></ul>