Social Media Training for Public Sector Employees

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Kimberly Denz 8 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #159635

    Alain Lemay

    I am trying to find out what types of training government agencies and other public sector organizations are offering to their employees.

    Are you doing in class or web based? Training or self-directed? In-house or contracted out?

  • #159653

    Kimberly Denz

    My (small state) agency is stuck in the “if we hide, maybe it will go away” stages of social media. I’ve created training materials and offered workshops (in-house, self-directed), but only a few of my coworkers have managers who will let them attend.

    Our state IT office has offered one class in social media for government. I was one of about 16 people in attendance.

    I’d love to see a partnership between the HR and PR departments in the agency created to make the policies–with support from IT–and to secure buy-in from executive leadership. We’ve already had issues with employees venturing into social media on their own, on behalf of the agency, without training and without a plan. We didn’t even have a social media policy at the time (and the one we rushed to write is weak). It’s pretty scary, frankly.

  • #159651

    Corey McCarren

    That’s unfortunate that your agency wants to hide from it. Take advantage! Crowdsource! Good luck moving the conversation to “how do we implement this technology”.

  • #159649

    Julian Scadden

    We just received an email from GovDelivery to a “Social media visionary kit”. As leaders we are looking at educating ourselves and getting the word out to our employees. This is an important topic that begins with education for the leadership so it can be presented and directed to the staff with a certain level of comfort and knowledge. Things unknown sometimes do not get the attention they deserve but we cannot wait any longer to get up to speed with social networking.

  • #159647

    Ori Hoffer

    I (and 19 others from various agencies) just completed the Digital Gov University “Social Media for Government Employees” course. 12 weeks with a lot of background into the WHY of social media much more than the day-to-day HOW of it.

    I thought it was extremely informative, and gave a greater understanding of how groups engage, communities develop and why certain tools work the way they do. It was a pilot course, and I think there will probably be some tweaks to it when it’s offered again in the fall (more hands-on, practical use of social media tools for example). also has a lot of great resources for individual training.

  • #159645

    Mary Yang

    Julian already made an awesome plug for the Social Media Visionary Kit through GovDelivery.You can find it here:

    Also, we’re hosting a webinar with the Fels Institute for Government (at UPenn) on the Rise of Social Government in a couple of weeks. It’s a free webinar, and they’re going to go over some best practices they’ve found in interviewing a ton of government communicators. You can register for the webinar here:

    The class that Ori mentions sounds amazing, too!

  • #159643

    Alain Lemay

    We are looking at this right now and are leaning towards a web-based, self-directed course for employees. This would be a Social Media 101 for the masses type of course. Then, we figure we might need something more advanced for official users of social media, i.e. those employees who will be tweeting or posting on official accounts.

    We’ve had consultants come in and give 101s to select groups of employees but with mixed results. Some employees were just too advanced for the material, others could barely keep up. We figure the self-directed venue would allow employees to go at their own pace.

    The other question is, Do we make it mandatory? We do have some courses that are mandatory already: IT Security, Information management, etc, so there is a precedent. On the other hand, we don;t want to make social media a chore.


  • #159641

    Eric Koch

    Interesting discussion. I do see this as mandatory especially when it comes to common do’s and don’ts. There can’t be a bunch of people branching out on their own representing a particular agency sharing classified information. What would happen if someone working for the DHS started releasing info via social media putting our nation at risk? Wouldwe address social media then? I guess technically President Obama can continue to step in and fire such people as part of his already busy schedule.

  • #159639

    J. Ellen Crown

    As a comm practitioner, I took advantage of all of the training I could get (and get my bosses to authorize) when I first got involved with managing social media. I also found the guidance documents from my Department actually pretty helpful ( Most importantly, however, is that I looked for mentorship in people who were already doing it. In fact, I still leverage those relationships. Now our agency is at the point, very soon, of offering training for non-communications staff. Why? Because Websense is gonef and staff can now access these platforms via their government devices. The training will focus on issues of privacy and security.

  • #159637

    Ori Hoffer

    Social media training should be mandatory for anyone who is considering using any social tool in an official capacity – at a minimum, it’s a reminder that government rules are different from the private sector, there are Hatch Act considerations, etc.

    It should be encouraged for all other employees so that they understand that just because they’re on their personal accounts, doesn’t mean they are exempt from certain rules and regulations.

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