ESPECIALLY as related to the government:
Social Networks and Government
What are Social Networks?
Social networking sites are websites that connect people. In these online communities, people can join (for free) and at a minimum, establish a page with their profile.
The most popular, MySpace and Facebook, also have groups, which are feature–rich chat boards for members. A popular professional social networking site, LinkedIn, offers sections for jobs, service provider recommendations, and questions. All allow users to find people they know among the members, or look for other members with similar interests or affiliations. These sites make it easy to establish networks of contacts. Other Web 2.0 technologies, such as Wiki products (e.g., WikiMedia) and photo–sharing sites (e.g., Flickr), also have social networking aspects to them.
Potential Uses of Social Networks by Government
Public social networking sites can be used to further promote government information and services. This could include setting up a LinkedIn group, a Facebook group, or a Ning community. By setting up a group in Facebook, for example, government can bring people together who are employees with those who are interested in a facet of an agency’s work and information. Doing so expands the government’s outreach capabilities and ability to interact.
Public social networking sites can also be used for recruitment. Agencies could advertise jobs and answer questions about jobs on sites such as LinkedIn to attract students and professionals, provided they have already listed their federal jobs on the federal government’s official jobs site USAjobs.gov.
Public social networking sites are a great way to announce events. The Columbus, Ohio, Chamber of Commerce worked with students at Ohio State University to use Facebook to announce the opening event of a new restaurant, leading to long lines of students waiting outside in cold weather until the restaurant opened. The restaurant had the biggest opening day ever for the restaurant chain.
Social networking sites with government partners can help achieve a government’s mission. See the NASA example discussed below.
Interagency and intergovernmental social networking sites can promote cooperation across government. Internal social networking sites can establish connections across traditionally stovepiped and geographically dispersed organizations. Employees could form groups on social networking sites to overcome stovepipes within organizations.