Effective government use of YouTube

FEMA channel on YouTube

Leading the way in harnessing the popularity of social networking sites like YouTube, FEMA launches an inspirational YouTube channel.  For those government employees who are not allowed to access YouTube from your federal workstations, attached is a screenshot.

As you can see, the site is well designed and beautifully branded with the Department of Homeland Security seal and FEMA logo.  The site goes a long way toward educating the public in the use of tax payer dollars.  FEMA’s YouTube videos demonstrate the good work that FEMA is doing.  It also is a step forward in allowing heads of executive departments and agencies to speak directly to the public by way of social networking.

President Obama’s historic campaign, based in large part on social media, is a reflection of how the administration plans to govern as well.  And, in the age of ugly government websites, it is refreshing to see such an elegant implementation.  In fact, FEMA’s YouTube channel outshines The White House YouTube channel.  Soon, we expect to see many more federal, state and local agencies and departments fall in line and produce their own YouTube channels, Facebook pages and blogs. 

Government agencies should, however, define government policy on the use of social media sites because many legal issues such as privacy rights, accessibility rights, security and records management still apply.