Government use of social media


GSA has been working on tailored Terms of Service agreements with various social media vendors YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, etc.). Once finalized, these agreements will be offered to other agencies, for your agencies to sign if they agree to the terms. FYI, here’s a news article as well with a bit more background: Feds and YouTube close to reaching a deal to post video.

Colleagues: Social media is just a tool to be used when appropriate. It’s not a matter of Facebook versus podcasting versus an interactive web site; it’s choosing the right modality within the framework of objectives and resources.

In the case of government communicators, we do not have a lot of options. The web and social media and our customer service applications are, generally speaking, all we have to communicate. Lacking advertising budgets, we do what we can with the tools at hand.

Please see an article on our use of social media during a campaign to convince 530 criminal offenders with warrants to voluntarily surrender. When our advertising budget virtually disappeared, we had to rely on social media to get the job done.

A colleague of mine was discussing a recent article in the NY Times, “Is Social Networking Killing You?” It got me thinking about writing this post so here it is.

I will admit that social networking can be a time-user (not time-waster) depending on your personality type. I find it exciting to see what other people are up to. I don’t try to keep up with all the details and typically I just scan the latest things going on. But it’s always interesting to learn more about the people you know, want to know, and know but want to know more. There’s the argument that what is happening, by going to social networking over face to face interaction, is not really interacting socially. But I believe the term “social” needs to be relearned for today’s age. Social is no longer just an interaction between a person, or groups of people…in the physical world like most people know it as. It’s any interaction and that includes online.

The biggest thing I’ve noticed, which I don’t think they’re taking account of, is that being social online has actually allowed me to be social with a tighter group of people in my offline world. It’s allowed me to be more selective of whom I spend my personal, limited, physical time with. In the past, as I would meet new people, I’d have to be cognizant of calling them or emailing them “just to say hi.” I would have to make sure I occasionally hung out with them so they know I “still thought about them” or “still cared.” That takes a lot of your personal time. I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy spending that time with those people, but in an age where we’re already hard-pressed for time…that time spent is precious.

With social networking, I’ve actually been able to move those occasional meet ups, phone calls, emails, etc from the “offline” world into the socially networking world. I also have my colleagues, close personal friends, and family in that world. Now, my close, offline relationships are with those people that I feel deserve my personal time that I would otherwise be spending doing something else. It’s improved my close relationships. They’re stronger than they ever were. And now that I’m involved in the social networking world those occasional friendships have improved as well. I no longer have to remember to call person “X” and person “Y” before they leave for their trip to say “good-bye.” I don’t have to worry about forgetting person “X”s birthday or anniversary. The social networking tools push that information to me on a daily basis. Now, I spend my offline life growing my personal relationships with family and close friends and grow my online life with everyone else. I also interact more, and with more people, than I ever have before…yet I don’t feel stressed or worried about contacting them all the time. Now, it just comes naturally (or virtually). It simply is the way it is.

So, let it be known, that if I start wanting to spend time you in my offline, physical world…you are very worthy of what limited personal time I have and now I’m sharing that with you. For those that are not in that category, don’t feel bad…there’s very few people in it. I simply don’t have the time 🙂

For what it’s worth, every time I have a conversation about the pros and cons of social networking, it ends with the “Dr. Phil

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