The White House goes mobile, DHS connects first responders online, Minnesota’s governor hosts the first Facebook town hall forum, and state parks and recreation services connect the outdoors with the social media environment, all in this week’s version of the Rock Creek Roundup.
–Earlier today, the White House announced that the WhiteHouse.gov website is now optimized for mobile devices including the Palm Pre and the President’s smartphone of choice, the BlackBerry. The optimized version of the site works with practically any mobile browser, and allows visitors to gain access to White House news and information while they’re out and about. The site will also be ready to use with the highly anticipated Apple iPad. To view the optimized version of the site, just point your mobile browser to www.whitehouse.gov and you’ll be served the version that’s right for your mobile device.
–The Department of Homeland Security has created an online network aimed at connecting emergency first responders from federal, state, and local levels. The First Responders Communities of Practice site will serve as a place for emergency response professionals to share ideas and best practices about ways to handle specific hazards, emergencies, and crises. The site is only open to vetted emergency response professionals and allows participants to communicate and collaborate via wikis, blogs, and other mediums.
–In state government news, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty held a town hall forum on Facebook earlier this week, using video to read and respond to a dozen viewer-submitted questions during the 30-minute meeting. Billed as the first town hall meeting ever held on Facebook, Governor Pawlenty told reporters that “convenience for the public” was the main factor behind holding the town hall meeting online. “People can participate from their living room, from the beach, from their study or a library,” said Pawlenty, “Rather than having to get in a car and go through the inconvenience of doing it the old-fashioned way.”
–Social media is also being used by state parks and recreation departments to showcase the features, events, and activities that citizens can participate in at their local state parks. For example, state park officials in Virginia are using Twitter to connect and communicate with their more than 8,500 followers, while park officials from Arkansas have grown their number of Arkansas state parks fans on Facebook to more than 20,000. For government agencies and even nonprofits that don’t have a lot of money to dedicate to social media outreach, these stories give some innovative ideas on how to achieve social media success.
This is cross-posted on the Rock Creek Strategic Marketing blog.