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Government’s New Toy: GSA’s Pinteresting Process of Terms of Service

Ever wonder how government agencies might utilize the social media site Pinterest? The United States Mint could show us pictures of their favorite Elongated Souvenir Coins. DHS could put up picture recaps from their favorite scenes of the previous week’s episode of Homeland. Or maybe, the United States Department of Agriculture would illustrate the droll cruelties of cow tipping.

Although we may see these agencies use Pinterest in a different way than described above, the advantages of operating on a site as Pinterest are undeniable, even for government. The near ubiquity of social media creates endless ways to reach citizens and clients. The utilization of these social networking tools is imperative for the advancement of government. This is why, when the General Services Administration announced the agreed upon terms of service for Pinterest, Chris Dorobek of the DorobekINSIDER program, sat down with Betsy Steele, who heads GSA’s Term of Service team to discuss Government and Social Media’s latest partnership, and what it’s like negotiating terms of service.

Why Should Government Utilize Pinterest?

“Terms of Services basically paves the way for agencies to use social media which everyone is very excited about using because the days of expecting your customers to come to your website to get all your information are over,” said Steele.

Why Does GSA Get Involved?

“4 or 5 agencies thought they were negotiating with Pinterest and they were talking with all different people in the company… We hope to save other government agencies lots and lots of time, which is money, by negotiating with the vendor once and then trying to make it as government-wide compatible as possible,” said Steele.

What Processes do you Go Through?

“We have a Social Media community practice which is very active and they let us know if there are any new tools which they are interested in using so we can start negotiating with them and put the next important tool in the queue,” said Steele.

What Are The Negotiations Like?

“Every time a vendor changes their standard terms we need to review our amended terms to see if they are still applicable and often they are…They often don’t renegotiate the terms once the terms are agreed upon,” said Steele.

What Social Media / Networking Sites are Next?

“The latest one now that everyone is very excited about using is Instragram, so we’re very interested in negotiating with them,” said Steele.

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Kate M. Long

It’s great to see that Pinterest is being used by federal agencies. It’s a great social site and has so much more potential than just recipes and crafts (as much as I do love the DIY pins).

Courtney Shelton Hunt

Folks interested in using Pinterest for their public sector entity may find the following resources valuable:

We’ll be developing and sharing more resources in the coming weeks. And though we’re not in the public sector, folks might get some ideas from checking out our boards.