Building on GovMadness 2011: – the Best of the Rest in Gov2.0 from Federal, State and Local

In keeping with the spirit that GovLoop has started this week with GovMadness 2011, I thought I’d post a forum to highlight some of the smaller agencies and cities that may have gotten the snub from GovLoop’s big dance. There are a lot of agencies and departments out there doing great work with social media, whether on a federal or local level, and there are lessons and best practices to be learned from all of them, regardless of size.

Here are some of my favorites that I’ve found to have figured out how to get the most out of social media and use it to improve the product or service they deliver.

– Fairfax County, VA @fairfaxcounty. A plug for my home county, and home to #8 seed George Mason, who has done a great job of launching the Fairfax County NewsWire blog and posting to the Fairfax County Twitter about helpful information for its citizens. During some severe rainstorms last year in Virginia, I was happy to see a tweet recommending teleworking to avoid the traffic and roads closed due to the flooding. Fairfax County has over 1 million residents and traffic, congestion and construction is the norm here. @fairfaxcounty does an excellent job of keeping residents information of what is happening on the roads. (@fairfaxcounty)

– Department of Internal Revenue Services (IRS). We all know taxes are complicated – and this seems like a perfect place for good social media use to help us out. The IRS has some interesting social media content, including podcasts that can help you understand what you can and can’t file. You can also follow them on Twitter through a number of Twitter handles, and get advice on next to anything. (@IRSnews , @IRStaxpros)

San Ramon Valley Fire Department, CA. If you haven’t heard about the new efforts from a California community fire department to create an application to tap into the abilities of the community to help in emergency situations through location-based services, check out the interesting application they’ve developed. It’s been great to see some recent developments in ambulance-to-hospital technology here at HP, so I was interested to learn about this type of technology being used in emergency services. (@srvfpd_news)

National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) – Okay, so NASA did make the GovMadness bracket, but at least from a Gov 2.0 perspective I think they’re definitely undervalued at only a 7-seed. From hosting NASA tweetups during launches to posting interesting content from the astronauts, they are ahead of the game. A few days ago I tracked the final landing of the Discovery space shuttle as it approached the earth through videos, images and updates all on their Twitter page. (@NASA)

Department of Motor Vehicles, California. The decades-old frustration of waiting in line at the DMV is something we all can relate to. But in California the DMV has embraced using social media to make it a little more tolerable. You can download the DMV application that gives you directions and wait times for the nearest DMV location. And for our teenagers learning to drive, there are sample driving tests and educational videos available through the application. The DMV is also big on Twitter, where they respond regularly to customers and post important info on closures and announcements. (@CA_DMV)

White House. From multiple daily blog posts to YouTube videos, it is clear that the White House has done a great job using a wide range of social media channels to spread news and information. They’ve contributed to a number of different departments in the GovMadness tournament, but I think they deserve special consideration on their own. (@Whitehouse)

What are some of your favorites?

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Christopher Whitaker

I know CodeforAmercia isn’t a gov agency, but we’ve got to highlight them in some way – they’re awesome

Michael McCarthy, APR

Yes, thanks for this article. Manor, Texas also has to be mentioned – they are extremely innovative and pioneer new uses of technology to engage their residents.. And I have to plug my city, Orlando, for recently using Facebook, YouTube and Google Moderator to get people to ask questions for Mayor Buddy Dyer’s State of the City Address.

Shannon Donelson

Christina, thanks for posting this! You hit home for me because not only did I live in Fairfax County as a young kid, my parents both worked for the IRS! All the above are amazing and deserve the recognition!