A Sampling of EPA Social Media

I’d like to invite you to check out a few of the ways we’re using social media here at EPA. This isn’t all of it, and our uses are expanding rapidly, but it’s a good start.

I’m also not getting into great detail about whether I think each effort is successful – that’s not my point here. Rather, I just want to share some of it so you can see what we’re up to and consider for yourself whether it seems to work, whether it would work for your agency, etc.

http://blog.epa.gov – our blog, Greenversations. My presentation about how we run it, our goals, etc. is here: http://www.slideshare.net/levyj413/from-30000-feet-to-3-feet-running-a-federal-blog

In particular, you might be interested to see how we ask a weekly non-policy question (http://blog.epa.gov/blog/category/question-of-the-week/)

http://blog.epa.gov/enforcementnationalpriority – our policy discussion forum built on our blog server. This is where we invited input on how we should prioritize our enforcement office’s efforts for the next three years. The questions all got pretty good response, but this one got 72! http://blog.epa.gov/enforcementnationalpriority/suggestions1/

http://epa.gov/pick5 – Pick 5 for the Environment. This is the project where we invite people to choose 5 of 10 environmental actions and commit to them. We’ve also set up a Facebook fan page, a Flickr group, a YouTube group, and a Twitter hashtag, all accessible from the page. This is a good example of “fail fast.” We did it very lightweight to start with, and discovered it didn’t go viral. Now we’re examining what we can do to engage people more. One way is that we’re posting to our blog every two weeks, along with sending an email to the 14,000 people on the Pick 5 mailing list, inviting them to share their stories. Each post is about one of the 10 actions. The latest one just went live today, but we got 70 responses to the first one. The whole series is here: http://blog.epa.gov/blog/category/pick5/

http://epa.gov/earthday – our Earth Day page. On the right side, you can find links to our daily environmental tip podcast (published daily during last April), the photo and video projects,and the daily env. tip widget. At the top, you’ll see a random banner each time you reload. Most of the pictures were finalists from our 2008 Earth Day photo contest, and you’ll see we give them credit in the photos.

http://epa.gov/widgets – our widgets. We currently are working to bring them all into a common look and feel and include a “share” button.

http://facebook.com/epa – our main Facebook fan page.

http://www.epa.gov/radon/videocontest.html – our radon video contest. Watch the winner! It cost us $2500 in prize money, but was worth every penny. One thing to consider with video contests is how many people each entry affects. It’s not just the folks who make the video who get engaged, but everyone they show it to. Thinking just of myself, I’d bet everyone who entered shared their video with everyone they knew.

http://youtube.com/usepagov – our YouTube channel.

http://www.epa.gov/ – our home page, where you can see links to social media offerings in the lower right corner.

http://www.epa.gov/epahome/socialmedia.html – Our page describing most of our social media efforts, including links to our Facebook and Twitter accounts

Finally, on most EPA pages, you can see a “share” link in the upper right corner. Click it, and you’ll get the option to share that page’s URL on a variety of social media sites. We coded up our own “bookmarklet” instead of using commercial options for various reasons.

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Michael McCarthy, APR

Thanks for sharing this. I’m a fan of your Pick 5 on Facebook and we use one of your widgets on our City’s green initiative web page. The radon contest winning video is very good. How many entries did you get for this contest, and how did you promote it?

Jeffrey Levy

I think we got about 30 entries. A later contest on water quality netted 300 entries: http://www.epa.gov/owow/videocontest.html
Promoted through Facebook and Twitter, plus a news release.

Not sure how the radon contest was promoted – both of these were run by EPA program offices, not the main public affairs office where I work.

I’ll ask and post the results.