Welcome. Today we are going to talk about social networking. What it is, who is using it and why, what some specific tools for social networking are and, finally, we are going to address some concerns about social networking.
So I have a couple items to start us off today. First, some statistics- 66% of government workplaces use some type of social networking and 31% of online adults have used social tools to stay informed about government activities. People are looking for access to their government and social networking tools provide that access.
And a quote. This is from a recent testimony by the Director of Information Security Issues. So clearly government agencies are using social networking and we know that some (but a growing number) constituents are utilizing the content that government is putting out . Sounds like important stuff. But what is social networking? The 24 major departments and agencies (agencies) are the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Office of Personnel Management, Small Business Administration, Social Security Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development. United States. Congress. House of Representatives. Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, House of Representatives; Gregory C. Wilshusen, Director Information Security Issues; July 22, 2010
*ask* What is social networking? Right, well as you can see, social networking has many different definitions right now. Social networking does encompass all of those things. It is participatory and allows for two way communication and interaction rather than static, one sided communication. It is going to involve both internal collaboration and external communication. http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v =6a_KF7TYKVc&feature= PlayList&p =FBAB3C2C69F9F9CD&playnext=1&playnext_from= PL&index =1
The specific tools we are going to talk about a little later fall into these two categories- external and internal. We are going to want to keep this dual definition in mind as we look at the next couple of examples and especially as we look at specific tools. External tools are really going to be about feedback, public interaction and marketing while internal tools are going to be about communication, collaboration and professional development.
So what are the specific tools we can use to reach these internal and external audiences? While there are many and more are being developed every day, I just want to highlight some of the larger ones you hear about all the time. First we have some external networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Flicker, YouTube, blogs and mobile applications. These are going to be the tools that facilitate communication and openness with people outside your agency. Then there are the internal tools like wikis, RSS readers like Google Reader, Google Documents, LinkedIn and Delicious. These are things which facilitate internal communication and professional development. And again, these lines are blurry- for example, while blogs are great for communicating with constituents, blogs are also useful for internal communication and ensuring each department in an organization knows what the other departments are working on.
Let’s look at two really good example of an external tools- First, we have the Library of Congress on Flickr: The Library of Congress began going through their archives and placing uploading photos onto Flickr. People can then view the photos, add comments to the photos and tag the photos. And while I’m showing this mostly because I think it’s a really neat project, it is also a perfect example of interacting with the public to advance the mission of the LoC. For example, several of the comments ask about where this place is located or if the building still exists and later one commenter stated that: This building still exists, at the intersection of High and Main streets in Mount Orab, Ohio. (Identified by a commenter at Shorpy.com).
This is the LOC’s mobile application.
Second, we have the New York State Senate. While the LoC is a great example of getting people involved and utilizing the collective intelligence of your audience, the New York State Senate is a great example of ensuing that your constituents have access to as much information as possible.
With regard to internal tools, the State Department will be launching a Facebook-style community, dubbed Statebook. The firewall-protected site will be available for use by employees and diplomatic officials to post information relating to the business of diplomacy. This will be used within the Department of State to enhance communication and allow agency employees to perform their jobs better.
And now let’s take a closer look at some Ohio examples.
And, most recently, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced on July 11, 2010 that they are now participating in Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and are in the process of working with their IT department to enable their employees to access these sites.
I also want to highlight a couple of Franklin County agencies that are using social networking tools.
Now I want to show something here and I’m not trying to pick on anyone. I want to highlight the Franklin County Metro Parks as an agency that picked one medium (in this case Facebook) and is really concentrating on making that single medium effective and useful for their constituents. The Metro Parks have nearly 4,000 people that “like” them and interact with their agency on Facebook. And just to compare, we can take a look at Veteran’s Memorial. You can find Veteran’s Memorial on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. They have 143 people who “like” them on Facebook and 672 followers on Twitter. And that’s ok. BUT. They also have this great Flicker page where you can upload and view photos of recent events- with 1 member. By using all of these different tools, they aren’t concentrating on any one tool and using it well. So I think the point I’m trying to make here is that participating in all of these different types of media and networking is great BUT
Which brings me to a quick point- don’t just jump on the band wagon. As I was saying with Veteran’s Memorial- don’t just dive into the first new technology that everyone else is using. Before sending anything out, ask yourself: What value does this message carry for our customers? What action are we hoping to inspire? If you don't have a sharp answer to each of these questions, it's time to return to the drawing board. http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2010/07/social_medias_critical_path_re.html?cm_mmc=email-_-newsletter-_-management_tip-_-tip082710&referral=00203&utm_source=newsletter_management_tip&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tip082710
QUESTIONS? Clearly all of these other government agencies are using social networking tools. So if they are using it, how can you incorporate it without getting in trouble.
Let’s look at some common concerns people have about social networking- No one will use it I’ll get in trouble Only younger people are using that stuff My boss won’t like it I don’t have anything to say Privacy & security Records Management and Freedom of Information perceived or real lack of resources, cultural resistance, or legal or other barriers
So let’s address some of those concerns. First, and most importantly, let’s look at what the Ohio Office of Information Technology says: Any use of state-provided IT resources to operate, participate in, or contribute to an online community including, but not limited to, online forums , chat rooms , instant messaging , listservs , blogs , wikis , peer-to-peer file sharing , and social networks , is strictly prohibited unless organized or approved by the agency. If an individual is approved to participate in any of these forms of communication as part of state business, that person shall fulfill agency-defined security education and awareness requirements for proper use before participating. The content of the education and awareness requirements shall include methods to avoid inadvertent disclosure of sensitive information and practices to avoid that could harm the security of state computer systems and networks. That’s a lot of stuff. But the important part to highlight here is that you can be (and many people have been) approved to use social networking resources as a part of your job to promote your agency and collaborate with others. However, you need to make sure that these activities are cleared through all of the proper channels (bosses, IT, etc.) and that you are participating in these activities wisely.
So having said that, I want to spend a minute here talking about approval. How can you get approval for these types of programs at your agency? So many agencies have very strict restrictions on what you can even access let alone participate in. What can you do to convince people at your agency that this is a good thing? -Talk to people who are doing it and doing it well -Have a clear plan with tools, objectives and desired outcome -Provide examples of effective use -Provide clear examples of effective guidelines (http://www.ibm.com/blogs/zz/en/guidelines.html) Highly encourage you to check out an eBook called State of the eUnion (http://21gov.net/wp-content/uploads/e-book.pdf)
Webcontent.gov has some great suggestions on incorporating technology into your work as a government entity. They have best practices, design and usability studies, improving your website and then how to make sure that you are getting the most out of available technology. The Social Media section has some great comments and suggestions including guidance from federal agencies as well as resources and examples of agencies using these technologies successfully to fulfill the goals of their agency. And speaking of goals-
Really make sure that you are looking carefully at your goals and your audience. Are you trying to communicate internally or externally? What is the best way to reach that audience? Are you looking to just tell them things or do you want more interaction? You have to have those old journalism questions in your head- who what when where and why. We are going to take a closer look at some of these tools and I’ve really tried to answer those questions.
Wikis- Most common is Wikipedia. A wiki is really any site where people can collaborate by adding and editing their own content. You can use different sites such as Wikispaces and Wiki Spot to create your own wiki for your office or agency. And I’ve called this an internal networking tool but it can also be used as an external tool to collaborate with the public as well. And most importantly the WHY- the main thing here is that it facilitates communication.
Another internal collaboration tool is Google Documents. Google Docs is comparable to a wiki in that it allows for simultaneous creation, editing and collaboration. But while a wiki is more of a compilation of Word documents all linked together, a Google Document can be seen as a single Word document but also a presentation, or spreadsheet.
The next tool I want to talk about is called diigo and it replaces a product called delicious. And I’ve got a really long definition up here but basically delicious allows you to take the bookmarks that you have on your computer and then not only access them from any other computer but also to share and recommend websites, find new sites and to see what other people are bookmarking. This is really an internal tool and the main WHY here is really a professional development tool. Delicious allows you to interact with other people in your office or field of work and see what they are reading or using. The web is a big place and anything that brings it a little smaller is useful.
And here we have probably the most common tool and also the intersection of the internal and external tools. I’m going to skip over the definition but I did want to highlight some of the specific tools that can be used to create blogs and most importantly again, the WHY. And I’ve got the sort of external WHYs on the screen but the internal WHY is pure and simple- professional development.
And now, keeping with that “internal” side of blogs I want to take a look at a blog reader. Blog reader sites allow you to add, control and easily read the blogs you find useful. The one I use is called Google Reader but there are others out there. Basically, anywhere you see this symbol, you can add that content to any reader you choose. And again, the WHY- information gathered and delivered to your computer. You don’t have to waste time checking 10 or 15 different sites to find new information- it is all gathered and sorted the way you want it.
Now- on to the second “border-line” tool. LinkedIn is a professional networking tool that allows you to find other people in your agency or industry and collaborate with them. Your audience here will be both internal (your agency) and external (other people in your industry, potential colleagues). And again the WHY- LinkedIn really started out as a collaboration tool but has very much become a recruitment and networking tool for people who are looking to hire or looking for a job.
And now we start in to the solidly external tools. First, of course, is Facebook. With Facebook and the next two tools, you really want to keep your audience and end goals in mind. Facebook was originally geared towards college students but has very much expanded over the past couple of years to include much wider age and socio-economic ranges. The WHY here is that you have the opportunity to really interact with your audience and let them know what you are doing.
MySpace has a similar definition and WHY but here the WHO is what is important. You are going to find (for the most part) a much younger audience here.
The final tool I want to talk about today is Twitter. Twitter is sometimes referred to as micro-blogging. This means that everything you say has to be 140 characters or less. And there are a lot of agencies who are really using this effectively. I want to highlight ODOT here because it is easy to dismiss Twitter as a waste of time, but ODOT is tweeting real time traffic alerts which I have to say can be VERY useful. Another use which was recently brought to my attention was the use of Twitter during meetings/conferences/workshops. People are using it as a way to provide instant feedback to the presenter on an individual level not normally possible in large crowds. So the WHY here is really twofold- informing people but also looking at reactions to that information and processing that feedback.
And finally, apps. They are everywhere- including the official “organizing for America” app which was released by the white house in June. This app allows constituents to stay updated about current news and get involved with their government at a local level. While the creation of these applications requires more technical skill than the creation and use of the other tools we’ve talked about today, their usefulness and increasing popularity make them valuable.
So, let’s say, you have received all of the ok’s you need, you have talked to all of the right people, you have established your goals and objectives you’ve reviewed the available tools- how do you avoid the headaches? Because remember-
Once something is “out there” it can be very difficult if not impossible to “erase” it from the internet. In May of 2009, Jacqui Cheng of Ars Technica started an experiment to see how quickly deleted photos were deleted from social networking sites. In the original article, Twitter and Flickr both came out on top, with deleted content actually being deleted in seconds. Even direct URLs to content came back broken. Facebook and MySpace did not do as well. Cheng has been keeping an eye on the photo and now, 16 months later, the photo is still accessible . With the URL to the photo in hand, it is still viewable despite having been deleted almost 2 years ago. The problem is that a residual copy of photos stay around on Facebook’s CDN, Content Delivery Network, long, long after it has been deleted everywhere else. [http://www.alatechsource.org/blog/2010/10/deleted-does-not-mean-gone-forever.html] So there are a couple of things to keep in mind when using social networking tools both as your agency representative and for yourself. The first, (courtesy of our marketing director)-
Is to view your communications as a Press Release- When I was talking to our marketing manager about this issue, the first thing she stated was that no matter the placement or length of the content- view it as a press release. Even your 140 character tweets- those are all press releases.
The second thing is to remember your audience- This is not something you are sharing with one person or to a select group of people- for the external tools especially…
This is something that you are shouting to the world. Whether this is something for use internally among your colleagues or something that you are using as an external marketing tool, keep that in mind. And while the subject of this session is mainly using social networking as a government agency, also remember the distinction between what you do as your agency and what you do personally. Which brings me to my final point-
Use Common Sense: if you wouldn’t want your grandmother or your boss to read it- don’t do it. You have very little control over who sees what you are doing and even if you have the strictest privacy settings out there things can still circulate.
So how does this all come together? These are new tools yes. And there are admitted problems and downfalls. But we’ve talked about the benefits, we’ve talked about the rules and we’ve seen some good, solid examples of what can be done. But unless you are willing to make the effort and speak to your managers- none of this is really going to matter.
And finally, there are library resources. In addition to the webcontent.gov website, there are many helpful resources available online and in print to help you to create a social networking strategy and implement it effectively. These are just a couple of examples but there is a great deal of information available focused just on governments and even some of the suggestions and assistance for small businesses might be applicable to your agency.
Social Networking: What is it and why does it matter? 4/14/11
Statistics 66% of government workplaces (state, federal and local) use some type of social networking tool 31% of online adults have used social tools … to keep informed about government activities Government Online, Pew Research Center, April 2010 Social Networking in Government, Human Capitol Institute, January 2010
Government Quote “ As of July 2010, we identified that 22 of 24 major federal agencies had a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.” -Gregory C. Wilshusen, Director Information Security Issues; July 22, 2010; Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives, House of Representatives
Office of Information Technology Use of Internet, E-mail and Other IT Resources (ITP-E.8) 5.3 Participation in Online Communities . Any use of state-provided IT resources to operate, participate in, or contribute to an online community including, but not limited to, online forums , chat rooms , instant messaging , listservs , blogs , wikis , peer-to-peer file sharing , and social networks , is strictly prohibited unless organized or approved by the agency. If an individual is approved to participate in any of these forms of communication as part of state business, that person shall fulfill agency-defined security education and awareness requirements for proper use before participating. The content of the education and awareness requirements shall include methods to avoid inadvertent disclosure of sensitive information and practices to avoid that could harm the security of state computer systems and networks.
Goals Internal or external? One-way or Two-way Communication? Audience?
Wikis Wikispaces Wiki Spot Collaborative encyclopedia on the web. Internal WHY : Allows multiple people to add and modify content. Facilitates collaboration and communication
Google Docs Internal WHY : Collaboration, real time document editing Create and share your online documents, presentations and spreadsheets
delicious WHY : Allows you to access your bookmarks anywhere. Allows you to share, tag and comment on your friends’ bookmarks. Internal A Social Bookmarking service… you can save all your bookmarks online, share them with other people, and see what other people are bookmarking. In addition, our search and tagging tools help you keep track of your entire bookmark collection and find tasty new bookmarks from people like you.
Blogs Internal/External WHY : Marketing, Feedback, Informed Public WordPress Blogger Weebly A frequently updated, chronologically ordered publication of personal thoughts and opinions with permanent links to other sources, creating a historical archive. This can be published on personal websites or institutional websites as communication tools.
RSS Readers Google Reader constantly checks your favorite news sites and blogs for new content. You can use Google Reader's built-in public page to easily share interesting items with your friends and family . WHY : Web content delivered to you, when you want it Internal
GovLoop A social network for the government community to connect and share information Internal/External- Professional WHY : Connect, Collaboration, Communication, Recruitment
LinkedIn Find past and present colleagues and classmates quickly. Your network is full of industry experts willing to share advice. Internal/External- Professional WHY : Connect, Collaboration, Communication, Recruitment
facebook WHY : Marketing, Communication, Informed Public External- All Ages Giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.
myspace Join for free, and view profiles, connect with others, blog, rank music, and much more! WHY : Marketing, Communication, Informed Public External- Younger Audience
Twitter Twitter is a real-time information network powered by people all around the world that lets you share and discover what’s happening now. WHY : Informed Public, Information Gathering External