Published on January 21, 2009
Social Media and the Gov’t: A Brief Introduction Jeffrey LevyDirector of Web Communications US EPA Rev 7/12
What is Social Media?Anything online other than staticcontent where the provider posts and the viewer absorbs
Four Things to Remember• Social media is free like a puppy is free.• Social media is a set of tools. Don’t throw out the old just because you get something new.• We’re in the first pitch of a baseball game.• An expert is someone who knows one thing more than you do.
What (tools)?Currently Used at EPA Not Yet Used at EPA• Blogs & Discussion Forums • Virtual worlds• Microblogs (Twitter: Main | More) • Social news• Social networking • Social bookmarking (Facebook: Main | More) • Social gaming• Widgets • Business Networking• Wikis (LinkedIn)• Video sharing (YouTube)• Photo sharing (Flickr: Main | Project)• Podcasting• RSS• Contests (Challenge.gov)• Idea generation (IdeaScale)• Location check-ins (FourSquare)• Webinars, Twitter parties, Live Tweeting
What (figuratively)?• Interaction (comments, photos, videos)• Collaboration (internal and external)• “Force Multiplier” through sharing• Tools for adults• The way business will be done
Why?• Mission, mission, mission – So keep using older tools, too• It’s where the people are – 4,000,000,000 daily YouTube views – 900,000,000 active Facebook users• More direct connection to people• We’re 17,000. They’re 6,000,000,000.• Chance to hear what others are saying• Competitive advantage in information provision
How?• It’s culture, not a tech issue• Trust: employees, the public• Develop some strategy, but not 400 pages• Experiment• Define tool-specific measures of success – It’s all about engagement – Return on investment is (usually) the wrong question
How? (cont’d)• Be ready to fail (fast, small)• Be ready to succeed – Always ask “what’s next”? – Teach!• Embrace criticism (it’s almost all useful)• Accept that odd things will happen• Know the policy and governance framework• Acknowledge that fear, confusion, wonder, excitement are all normal
Number One Recommendation LEARN
How to Learn: Try It• GovLoop.com• Twitter (to start, just follow people)• Facebook (try everything: groups, apps, causes, upload pics, add links, etc.)• Search for blog posts about social media• Post videos to YouTube, photos to Flickr, Documents to Scribd, slide decks to Slideshare• Listen to a few podcasts
How to Convince Your Boss• Mission: use gov’t words, not technologies – Not Blog: “connecting with our stakeholders” – Not YouTube: “video where people can find it”• Stay high-level, not technical• More: levyj413.wordpress.com/2009/05/12/how-to-talk-to- managers-about-social-media/
How to Start Formal Projects• Review the stuff about culture• Thicken your skin• Start small, grow over time• Go to lunch with: – Your IT folks – Your attorneys – People who have found success
Resources• HowTo.Gov: http://www.howto.gov/social-media• Apps.gov list of fed-friendly terms of service: https://www.apps.gov/cloud/cloud/category_home.do? &c=SA• Me – Twitter: http://twitter.com/levyj413 – Slide presentations: http://www.slideshare.net/levyj413 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org• #gov20 Twitter hashtag: https://twitter.com/#!/search/ %23gov20
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