DigitalGov Social Media Open House

It would be inevitable to have Social Media Week in DC and not have a hosted event to showcase the exciting technologies and social media initiatives in the federal government. The federal government is a major piece of the culture in Washington, DC. The city of DC is full of historical museums, monuments, and federal government buildings.

The DigitalGov Social Media Open House took place February 16, 2012 at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and was co-hosted by GSA’s Center for Excellence in Digital Government (@GovNewMedia). The social media sub-council co-chairs included Amanda Eamich, Director of Web Communications, USDA and Lovisa Williams, Deputy Director for the Office of Innovative Engagement, U.S. Dept. of State.

The USDA headquarters building is located on Independence Ave. in DC. The word “independence” is a great way to describe the social media open house. It was great to see federal government departments utilizing their “Declaration of Independence” of showcasing their use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, internal web applications and mobile applications.

Each federal department developed a social media strategy, which was aligned with their departments’ mission. Community engagement seemed to be very important to each government agency.

GAO iPad and iPhone App

U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)
GAO produces 1 to 10 reports a day for the general public and social media assists with marketing those daily reports. The GAO website receives 2,000 to 3,000 visitors through the use of social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook. GAO plans to deploy their iPad and iPhone app next week via iTunes.

Twitter: @usgao

U.S. Department of State
The U.S. Department of State has one of the most innovative social media outlets in the federal government. The Office of Innovative Engagement at the Dept. of State has a social media hub that provides guidance on social media best practices and social media tool selection. Currently, the Dept. of State is building Apps@State to engage and empower the citizens of the world. The Dept. of State is very close to having 240,000 followers on Twitter, that is remarkable. Not to mention, the Dept. of State was one of the first federal government departments to adopt Google+ and Ning (a social media network platform).

Twitter: @StateDept

U.S. Department of Education
Yammer is a free application that can be accessed via apps.gov offered by General Services Administration (GSA). Yammer is much like Facebook, but it allows the employees of the Department of Education to connect, collaborate and communicate with each other. This internal application has improved communication, morale and productivity.

Twitter: @usedgov

GovLoop.com is a social network for the government and during Social Media week, GovLoop launched their new iPhone and iPad app. Please download the free app on iTunes.

Twitter: @govloop

Declaration of Independence: Social media will continue to evolve in the federal government and it will continue to promote transparency, collaboration and communication.

Kanika Tolver
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @CareerDropout

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Tammi Wark Marcoullier

It was an awesome event! A huge thanks to all who came out to share and socialize. And especially to Jeanette Staton at GSA’s Center for Excellence in Digital Goverment (@GovNewMedia) who coordinated all the moving parts and made this happen.

Looking forward to the next gov social media gathering.

Joe Flood

It was interesting to see all the new ways govt is reaching out to the public. If the GAO can use Twitter and Facebook, then every agency should do so.

You need to have a sense of humor when working in or with government. Those of us without government badges had to go through a very old-fashioned screening process before being admitted to the new media open house. Getting into the USDA required the signing of forms, paper badges, escorts and protocol discussions. It was no big deal but it’s funny how difficult gov can make the simple some times. Which makes gov social media even more miraculous.