July 21, 2010 at 5:25 pm #106085
Facebook hit 500 million users today and wrote a blog to describe it.
I love the stories Facebook is displaying about how it changes people lives. Personally, my girlfriend found her long-lost cousin on Facebook.
In honor of that, I’d love to hear government facebook stories…
Either as a government employee or government agency, how has facebook helped you or your agency?
July 21, 2010 at 6:03 pm #106135
Interesting that Facebook announces they have 500 million members today. Just heard on the radio this morning of a survey recently done :
” Facebook, which looks set to boast its 500-millionth member, emerged as a surprise loser in a new report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index that ranks the top 30 social media sites. Users complained about privacy concerns, interface changes, navigation problems and advertising.” – http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128661650
It seems Facebook is more hated than the IRS!! http://www.switched.com/2010/07/20/facebook-even-more-reviled-than-the-irs-study-says/
July 21, 2010 at 6:08 pm #106133
Facebook is blocked for most of the Ontario Public Service. Good arguments have been made that civil servants would benefit from FB access to connect with colleagues across this (enormous) organization, but so far the status quo is that most of them can’t access it. However, one office has developed an internal social media tool (“OPSPedia”) for use across the organization, which seems to have many of the functions of Facebook.
Offices of the Legislative Assembly (where I work – we are arms length from the government) are not subject to the same IT guidelines and some of us are making use of it. The Ombudsman’s page is well-developed
I am still working on ways to get the most out of our page
July 21, 2010 at 6:44 pm #106131
My favorite govt and Facebook story was when I was at a govt agency and I was tasked to see how we could potentially use Facebook…and it was blocked.
July 21, 2010 at 6:45 pm #106129
sounds all too familiar 🙂
July 21, 2010 at 8:02 pm #106127
My agency was created by a proposition in California with extensive grassroots support. Before we launched our Facebook site we didn’t have a way of communicating our progress to those supporters. (We were putting out press releases, but those stodgy missives didn’t do much to make people feel involved or informed.) With Facebook, we can report daily steps that we’re taking, or direct supporters to news stories they might find interesting. The supporters who had been feeling disenfranchised are now commenting regularly on our Facebook site, and are also now showing up to public meetings. It has been a great way for us to reconnect with the people who made my agency possible.
July 21, 2010 at 9:20 pm #106125
Jay S. Daughtry, ChatterBachsParticipant
Great story, Amy, about engaging the public online and having that translate into “real-life” participation from supporters as well!
July 21, 2010 at 10:19 pm #106123
Of course my agency blocks Facebook, probably like many agencies, so I took the hint and only use Facebook for personal/family use. I try to use LinkedIn for more professional use and Govloop of course, even though that is blocked too. I actually find that Twitter is the best way to stay on top of all the news and I actually can check that at work. To me, that is the most useful tool for staying informed.
July 21, 2010 at 10:22 pm #106121
I have to say that the White House uses Facebook effectively for live broadcasts. The neat thing about it is that participants can have a running dialogue commenting on speakers. It’s a great tool for real-time questions and comments. Very interactive and engaging.
July 21, 2010 at 10:35 pm #106119
Have to agree with what you’ve said and I pretty much am doing the same. On LinkedIn, Twitter (and of course GovLoop as well) and deliberately skipped Facebook (the line between friend and co-worker gets blurred here)!
July 22, 2010 at 1:35 pm #106117
Being on FB helped me out last year. I posted a note titled “Why I will never buy from Best Buy or buy a Sony laptop again.” when I just wasn’t getting the support I had paid for from either company in replacing my problematic laptop. I then discovered a Best Buy Geek Squad page on FB and posted a link to the story there. I believe their involvement is what finally got my laptop replaced and a Best Buy gift card to boot.
While I haven’t been pleased with FB’s tendency to make significant changes without warning, overall I have really enjoyed being on FB and reconnecting with old friends and making new friends.
July 22, 2010 at 1:39 pm #106115
Mark D. LombardParticipant
At the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, one of our Commissioners has set up her FB page. Unfortunately, you have to access it from home as it is blocked at the NRC. Our IT folks are “looking into” social media but progress has been slow in coming.
July 22, 2010 at 1:51 pm #106113
Bryan Conway JD, PMPParticipant
Haha, I love how people despise a service that is free and totally voluntary – if you don’t like Facebook, delete your account! As far as despising Facebook more than the IRS, I don’t know anyone who has had their lives turned upside down by an audit imposed by a Facebook agent…too funny!
July 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm #106111
My collegues at VHA tried to assinate my career with my facebook postings. I was on “AL” headed for a conference, (to benefit VHA that I paid for out of my own pocket), and posting from the road. They thought I was “abusing my time” and someone anonomously sent the postings to the nurse exec and it went as far as labor and managment. Luckily, I have a great manager who was able to straighten the situation out for me.
As for facebook, I deleted my whole account.
Now I’m much more productive.
Twitter is the way to go.
Be careful out there.
July 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm #106109
Like most people, Facebook connects me to so many family and friends that, if it didn’t exist, I would never “see.” Granted, I am not an active FB user, but I appreciate it immensely.
July 22, 2010 at 2:54 pm #106107
Hillsborough County, Florida, government has started using social media as a way to engage our residents in discussions on important topics, such as budget reductions. An added advantage was to be able to reach residents, uncensored and unedited, in a manner in which they are already communicating.
To address the Web restriction many seem to be discussing, we went through a detailed process to develop our social media policy (along with representatives from our Board of County Commissioners, County Administrator’s Office, Communications Department, County Attorney’s Office, and Information Technology Department) so there would be buy-in and acceptance from all levels of management, including the County Commissioners.
The public participation to Follow us, Fan us, comment, etc. keeps growing, and the public engagement in our discussions keeps increasing. We are even learning from unsolicited comments on what sparks interest or would get follow up.
We also noticed that after we linked our FaceBook posts to automatically post to our Twitter page, our entries were more personal and engaging. This may be a result of not being limited to 140 characters, Web links included, as Twitter posts are also automatically shortened with Bit.ly or FaceBook links. This seems to have opened the door to more direct contacts for our services from those engaged.
July 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm #106105
July 22, 2010 at 3:46 pm #106103
“reach residents, uncensored and unedited, in a manner in which they are already communicating.”
I think that’s the key to all social media. People are on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, etc. They may not know they want info about or from my agency, they just know they want the information. By being present where people are, I can get my information to them. I also agree that by paying attention to what people “like” or comment on, you can adapt your posts to be as interesting and useful as possible to your constituents.
July 22, 2010 at 4:11 pm #106101
July 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm #106099
July 22, 2010 at 6:08 pm #106097
The City and County of San Francisco has a great page on facebook that I follow (since I’m a resident and because they are a Granicus client): http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/SF?ref=ts
Their CIO has some great insights on why they are using this as a communications channel.
quote: “social media services may displace government-run websites for many citizen interactions”
July 22, 2010 at 8:32 pm #106095
I use FB at my job at the NASA Center for AeroSpace Information (http://www.sti.nasa.gov) to raise awareness of the many technical reports that NASA produces and which are made available through two web interfaces; the NASA Technical Reports Server (http://ntrs.nasa.gov) and the NASA Aeronautics & Space Database (http://access.sti.nasa.gov – requires registration).
We have found it, along with our Twitter account @NASA_CASI to be very helpful in spreading the word on new NASA technical reports. We also use FB (and Twitter) to raise awareness of our program and resources by interacting with our followers online and connecting our technical content to daily NASA news and hot topics.
We’ve received some interesting comments; including questions about technical topics, NASA jobs, translation of reports into foreign languages, meteors seen, etc. We also recently used FB to solicit ideas on what types of database tutorials people would like to see on YouTube. We got one comment about the difficulty of searching for NASA multimedia and are planning on making a video to address this topic.
We keep plugging away at using these social media resources and so far have had a very positive experience and results.
July 23, 2010 at 12:21 pm #106093
Terrence (Terry) Hill PHRParticipant
Powerful story on connecting with your constituents. Thanks for sharing!
July 23, 2010 at 6:08 pm #106091
I really like this story from a client, Jaree Hefner in League City, TX. Great example of how they are using Facebook to connect with residents. This is from a blog post by Jaree:
I ALWAYS hear the question, “well how much time do you spend monitoring and maintaining your Facebook page?”, which is usually followed by, “I just don’t have the time and am not sure it’s time well spent.” If this is your response I strongly suggest you reconsider. There are over 400 million active users on Facebook, and if it were a country it would be the 4th largest. If you didn’t catch the link posted on Civic Plus’ Facebook you HAVE to watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIFYPQjYhv8 . It is beyond eye opening. I actually first saw this video at an emergency management conference where they said that EVERYTHING you put out during an emergency needs to be feeding to Facebook and Twitter if you want people to hear it. Truthfully, I rarely watch the news. I have all of our local media feeding on my twitter account and if I see something that I think is worth watching I will click through and pull it up that way. Gone are the days of people relying on having to catch the news at 10 o’clock. I’m going to post a separate entry on the many uses of twitter and ways you can use it to your benefit so I’ll get back on topic. I’m going to tell the story of Facebook by walking you through a situation that we went through on Facebook.
On April 20th at 9:00pm I realized I had forgotten to post our “Green” fact for the day during a Lean.Clean.Green. campaign that we ran so I posted this, ”
City of League City, TX Did you know that in order to recycle plastic bottles you have to take the cap off before putting them in the recycling bin? Hope this is a helpful hint! Counting down to Thursday!”
At the time I didn’t realize that 9:00pm is a peak time for fb and I was in for some pretty lengthy responses and discussion. In League City we have a few noisy residents and while this post generated a lot of debate it ended up in an all out attack seen here, “Tabatha Holt
Did you know …that in order for people to recycle you need to have a REAL recycling program! This requires hiring a waste management company that truly has a recycling facility.
Tired of seeing people working so hard to do the right thing by using there recycling bins when in reality this is just a huge farce!
States, Cities and Towns around the country have effective programs that WORK. Why cant the City of League City?
With the exception of the glass dropoff and recyclable paper bin at Public Works (a shameful fraction of actual waste); I do not believe that waste management does anything other than dump all of the bin recycling in the landfill.
Would love to hear otherwise.
By this time I was asleep so I missed some of this until the next morning but she of course generated some genuine concern and people wanting answers. But I like a challenge so it was game time for me! So I responded, ”
City of League City, TX
@tabatha I asked our Director of General Services, Travis Doughty, about this and here is his response, “All recyclable items that are picked up curbside in the red bins are
delivered to a bona fide recycling facility. I can try to arrange a tour of the recycling facility if it would prove beneficial.” if interested you can email us at [email protected] and we will arrange it!
@Rachael you are welcome to email as well if interested! I will be posting a how to video of how to make your own composter this week so stay tuned! Keep us up to date on your journey! Kudos and good luck!”
From this point on Mrs. Holt & Mrs. Emig and I emailed and we were able to set up a tour of the recycling center where she could see for herself that we don’t actually just collect it to collect it and that it was going to a legitimate recycling center. This wasn’t the first time anyone at the City had heard from Mrs. Holt, but it ended up being the last! We met at the center (which is a good hour away) and toured the facility, had a few great conversations about her concerns and by the time we left she was so appreciative and her voice in League City was changed. We even shot a video after the tour about the center and things they learned (you can watch it here: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150186294320424&ref=mf). Since then I have received thank you cards and accolades from both ladies and they are now some of our most complimentary fans on Facebook and out in the public.
BUT here’s the kicker. NONE of this would have EVER come about if we didn’t have an active Facebook page for her to communicate with us through. Instead she would’ve been all over town telling everyone that our recycling program was bogus (I can’t think of a better word) and we would’ve never had the opportunity to step in and represent ourselves otherwise! SO, please don’t count it out and think that you don’t have time. It IS something that I constantly monitor and I may spend more time on it than necessary but it gives me a vested interest in what our citizens are saying and a chance to turn that around. And I have been successful 100% of the time!
July 23, 2010 at 9:16 pm #106089
I’ll be repeating this story for sure. Thanks for posting.
July 29, 2010 at 12:05 am #106087
Suicide Prevention is Everybody’s Business
FACT: Every year more than 32 000 people die by suicide in the
United States Conservatively, estimate about 20 attempts at suicide for each one that succeeds.
Rates of presentation to ’emergency departments’ for suicide-related reasons increased almost 50% from 1992-2001 and show no sign of declining.(3) These figures reflect Emergency Medicine’s increasing burden of responsibility and care for suicidal patients.
The closure of psychiatric inpatient facilities, reductions in inpatient beds, transition to outpatient treatment and increased costs of general practitioner visits have coincided with, and likely contributed to, increased attendances to EDs by psychiatric and suicidal patients who would previously have been admitted or seen in primary care. The ED is now the default option for urgent and acute contact for suicidal patients. The need to have ED based brief screening, early identification, intervention, facilitated referral, safety planning, and motivational enhancement to seek additional care are part of a multimodal approach to prevent suicide and suicide-related behaviors. Multiple emergency medicine investigators have developed different yet successful suicide screening and intervention initiatives. (4-8) Given the crowded ED environment, challenges remain regarding the ideal methodology for improved suicide screening and intervention. Support, research, and ultimately implementation of the most successful and efficient ED based suicide prevention programs are needed to address this important public health problem.
* See: Seehttp://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/07/17/eveningnews/main6688347.shtml
See: the serious (?) attention (comments) my proposal got re suicides and suicide prevention in the federal service. This is a ‘forum’ IMHO, of serious-minded people: What do you think?
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