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Google launches Google+ guide for politics and government

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Hot on the heels of launching Google+ Pages on November 7, Google has released a “how-to” guide for G+ aimed at increasing use of the new social platform by those in politics and government.

The “Google+ for Politics” page is part of a series of guides targeting segments like Celebrities, Media, Non-Profits, Sports and Universities, and seemingly takes a cue from Facebook, which launched its “Government on Facebook” learning page in September 2009 that now has nearly 42,000 “likes.”

The Google+ guide gives basic information about the use of G+ features like the +1 button, tailoring targeted messages via circles, photo sharing and even advocates the use of G+ hangouts to spend time with constituents. It points to early uses of the service by those in government, including:

  • How Senator Bernie Sanders polls his constituents for ideas or how the French governing party, UMP, and main opposition party, Parti Socialiste, share their campaign platforms on their Google+ Pages.
  • How constituents expressed their viewpoints on British Prime Minister David Cameron’s post about the G20 summit through +1s and comments.
  • How Michigan Governor Rick Snyder reached out to his Google+ followers to add more people to his circles.
  • How Governor Mitt Romney spoke with voters through Hangouts. His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu also used Hangouts to connect for the inaugural Desmond Tutu Peace lecture.
  • How French leading democrat Deputy François Bayrou shared photos from his daily meetings with constituents, or how Senator Mark Warner shared a YouTube video of his trip across Virginia to meet with local communities.

While Twitter had previously posted a case study on how the USGS uses their service, they no longer have that case study online. Twitter has yet to roll out a public-facing guide directed specifically at politicians or government agencies in the way Facebook or Google have, and one wonders if it will do so anytime soon. Twitter’s strategy to-date seems to rely more on face-to-face efforts of their D.C.-based staff of two (@colin_crowell and @adams) to ensure politician’s understand how to get value from using Twitter. While that strategy may be effective when targeting the Hill, I question how well the model scales when it comes to reaching the broader community of government agencies and politicians worldwide which would welcome best practices and guidance similar to what Facebook and Google are providing.

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Profile Photo Kevin Lanahan

I agree with your conclusion. I’m still not seeing a best use for government agencies. There’s lots of examples of how to market your movie or soda or campaign.

The killer features of G+ seem to be circles and hangouts. The rest of it is basically a duplicate of Facebook, and would require a duplication of effort if it can pull the same sort of participation that FB gets. I’m not gonna have staff to keep up with that, or double-post.

I’m glad David Fletcher in Utah and GovLoop are experimenting with it, but haven’t heard about what successes/failures they’ve encountered yet. I’m also not sure what the critical mass is before we want to commit resources to feeding the beast.

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Profile Photo Matthew Lane

It has been interesting to watch the evolution of G+. As far as I can tell, people have been using Facebook to recruit users for their “circles.” If government agencies were going to Use G+, they would need to use other social networking sites to supplement their followers since not everyone uses or even knows about it. I don’t think it would be effective, just yet, in producing the kind of following that government or politicians would be comfortable with.

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