What the White House Learned from Facebook

Some of you may have seen that the White House recently conducted a (non-scientific) survey of its Facebook fans and Twitter followers. The results are now in. In case you were curious about what can be found out from something like this, you can read about it here. A few noteworthy findings are…

  • 50% of Facebook survey respondents were over the age of 50, with another 35% between 35 and 49. Our Twitter audience is younger, with only 32% of respondents over the age of 50. A combined 62% are over the age of 35.
  • 62% reported visiting our Facebook page at least once a week. However, 93% say they read tweets from us at least once a week.
  • Over 50% of respondents from both surveys reported never using Flickr, LinkedIn and social bookmarking sites (such as Digg, Reddit, and Delicious).
  • 64% said that the frequency of our Facebook posts is “About Right,” with 31% wanting more, and only 5% saying that it’s “Too Much.”
  • The top requested content includes news-oriented posts (Breaking News, the latest news from the Administration), interactive posts (ways to engage with Administration officials, announcement of live streams, quotes from major speeches as they happen) and the Photo of the Day.

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Michael Rautio

I’m sorry, but I don’t see how the findings above are noteworthy. How are they going to be used to help guide or modify the current content strategy. I think the numbers above just give a picture of who is using the content but I see very little insight that could be gleaned to improve said content.

Alicia Mazzara

I am surprised to see that 50% of the Facebook respondents were 50 and older. I had read an article a while back saying the average age of Facebook users is lower than Twitter users, but that may have changed, or this may be unique to the White House’s audience. It sounds like Twitter is really the way to reach people, based on the survey anyway.

Eliza Blair

@Michael – You need to know what people are doing before you can try to modify your own strategy.

@Alicia – Facebook is now officially For Old People. I have elderly relatives on Facebook who barely use the internet for anything else. 🙂

Andrew Krzmarzick

@Michael – Without reading the report and knowing raw numbers, this data tells me they need to alter the strategy by:

1 – Changing the type of content and conversations they have on Facebook

2 – Apply a few more resources to Twitter engagement.

3 – Spend less time on Flickr, LinkedIn and social bookmarking

4 – Drill down on the kind of news that is important to people and (a) provide more like it and (b) make it even more interactive.

Summary: Double down where there’s energy. Minimize /reallocate resources from other sites / activities to do so.

Bonus: It’s also a commentary on the web in general…a microcosm of citizen behavior that other agencies can learn from?

Michael Rautio

I understand the points everyone is making and the data is valid. But the big problem I have with much of the Social Media data is the lack of correlations between behaviors (or variables). The statistics provided are nothing more than descriptive. I would like someone to really dig down and examine the data and look for significant relationships and use that information to help guide decisions. Otherwise…it is all just working on a hunch…..eg…”Well this many people do this so it must mean that.” For example, Flickr was mentioned. This is a great resource for photos..something which the White House seems to be pretty darn proud of. The last web team I was on had amazing Flickr numbers…maybe they should re-evealuate what they are doing and test some new methods to share photos with the public…which BTW…the public sure seems to love.