Government 2.0 Club is an informal organization focused on convening the tribe of technologists and thinkers focused on applying social technologies to the governments worldwide.
What’s Your #1 Social Media Tip for Newly Elected Officials?
January 17, 2011 at 3:11 pm #120619
A ton of newly elected officials (governors, mayors, senators, appointed officials) are now entering public office at the federal, state, and local government level.
There are clear differences between social media for politics and governing. However, there is little information for these transitioning individuals (I’ve gotten a few direct emails/calls on this questions). Thus, I thought GovLoopers could help.
What’s your #1 Social Media Tip for Newly Elected Officials?
January 17, 2011 at 3:14 pm #120643
The world is watching, so watch what you say.
Facebook is slightly more private, but for individuals using Twitter on a public account it’s important to think before you tweet. Each tweet you post is another sentence in a history book, even if you hit delete.
January 17, 2011 at 3:14 pm #120641
Some key ones:
-Make sure you have separate Facebook/Twitter/email lists for Politics and Governing. Almost all states have rules where you can’t use governing time/$ for politics.
-Check to see if you can take over already existing channels for governing. Maybe there is already a Governor’s office FB/Twitter/email list. Think about it – you wouldn’t recreate texas.gov or cincinnati.gov when elected. Why re-create the social media channels.
-Provide clear guidance to the departments. Quickly you need to provide some guidance to other divisions/appointees – ideally a rough template and rough guidelines would be good.
January 17, 2011 at 3:34 pm #120639
Plan with the end in mind (the end being campaigning once again). Hire a professional, not the college intern (though the professional may be college age). Take a cue from New Jersey Governor Christie who hired a Director of New Media. The hire was about 25 years old at the time. Use it where it makes sense. Mayor Booker’s use of Twitter during the blizzard was timely, appropriate, and relevant.
January 17, 2011 at 6:15 pm #120637
I think there should definitely be an elevated degree of formality and organization (as compared to the average user or public entity).
Equally as important, however, there should also be transparency and honesty not only in the things they say, but how it’s written- social media style. Not patronizing, and not like it’s straight out of one of their campaign speaches. Just a few of my thoughts. Maybe I’ll post some more later…
January 17, 2011 at 10:12 pm #120635
#1 – Talk with us, stay in contact. Social media helps track issues, local emergencies(twitter) and public opinion. It can also make people feel heard while answering questions we have – not ones people think we have.
Social media is a conversation, not advertisement nor conversion channel. Social media is – well social. Its one step up from repeating your self to the masses – a.k.a. “broadcasting”
Gen X and beyond do not parental lectures on “My latest legislation” or “the new pub works” project we never use nor hired any of my out of work friends.
Look to Mike Levitte, past secretary of HHS (You know, the department with the biggest budget – yea larger than the DoD.) He blogged – good. He had guest experts take questions from the public. It was civil and never degenerated into a town hall meeting. For us, you know us – “We the people” , felt engaged, enlightened and (gasp sounds) heard. It was very social (darn there is that word again – it just keeps popping up doesn’t it 🙂
Let me cut to the chase. Sir or Madam, you spent a lot of money fighting hard for the public job. We listened to many speeches and you convinced us. Please stay in touch.
What’s in it for you? With 30 bills per day (avg) and meetings why add yet another thing you may not use? Honest, Web 2.0 is not used by everyone. To make your life easier. A poll on your website gives automated feed back for checking trends and public opinion. Yep – social media lives outside FaceBook or Twitter. Social Media lives on any website. Its why a few good posts answers many questions. Dispels myths. Successful elected officials picked up the current media to their advantage. “Fire side chat” or reading the comics on radio, Kennedy v.s. Nixon on TV, blogs, web video, Web and now social media.
What @stephanie said about using twitter during the blizzard is great. Twitter was also a great help during the flooding at Grand forks. As an elected official it could help you keep current on a local disaster.
Social media helps you see what’s bothering others so you can address the issues. Town hall meeting should not be a bad surprise. Social Media can help track issues before they get overblown
As VP from Microsoft said in a lecture “Create a public image or one will be created for you” Your image is now more than a few campaign signs and commercials.
Sorry, this has gotten too long.
January 18, 2011 at 1:15 am #120633
Prepare your family in advance for the mostly false attacks that will come from the dark underside of social media. Blog and twitter streams can be slimy beyond belief. I have a personal friend, former elected official, whose wife Googled her husband and pulled up a blog with a photoshoped picture of him in a diaper with his hand down the diaper and accusations too filthy to repeat. As an elected official, you will need to get used to anonymous sources exercising their first amendment rights through blogs, facebook, twitter etc in ways that will shock and disgust you. It comes with the territory. But the worst is when your family discovers these attacks by accident. Have a staff member search social media DAILY to identify these attacks so you can be aware of them and prepare your wife and children for what they might find on the web.
BTW, the blog site that refused take down the offensive post or identify its source was also one of the first to raise the claim that lack of civility in political discourse was the cause of the Arizona shootings.
January 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm #120631
Create a governance and crisis communications plan! Make sure that along with your social media policy you include simple things like the governance process for managing your agency social media accounts. Also consider that what if scenario if your agency is to suddenly get a lot of negative attention, if the wrong tweet goes out or a huge event such as a a natural disaster affects your stakeholders, what does your team do?
January 20, 2011 at 3:49 pm #120629
One simple thing to think about that lots of social media users fail to consider – make sure what you say adds value in some way. Be informative. Be engaging. You can even be entertaining, as long as it adds some measure of value to your audience. Don’t just talk because you think people want to hear you. There are already too many in government like that.
January 22, 2011 at 8:04 pm #120627
Some good tips in this GovTech article
Couple excerpts I like:
The Novelty Fades
A common challenge of government social networking is that refreshing the account can become inconsistent — or nonexistent — once the novelty wears off. Frequently a single employee in the public affairs office is charged with maintaining an agency’s social media presence. Given how busy such workers are in today’s frenetic news cycle, it’s not surprising some social networking accounts are neglected. Officials at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, however, say they have found a way around this pitfall. The agency’s Facebook account has roughly 36,000 fans, and six public affairs staffers take turns refreshing the account by alternating each week.
January 25, 2011 at 5:34 am #120625
Tweet don’t Delete!
Don’t delete a “bad tweet.” Even if it ends up being embarrassing. The fact it was deleted will become more of a story than the comment was. Take responsibility for what you say and stand by your sentiments.
January 26, 2011 at 1:23 pm #120623
Some interesting observations on this Quora thread for the new NYC Digital officer –http://www.quora.com/How-can-New-York-City-use-technology-to-serve-citizens?__snids__=11523659#ans32896
March 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm #120621
Unless you have said something indefensible that you later regret…
The apology was the minimum you’d expect but I think it was wise for him to delete that tweet, leaving it allows for it to remain in the news cycle (although the apology hasn’t drawn a line under it, it has become politicised and is being raked over two weeks later)
Still it’s a good case study for proving Elliot’s first response to the posting. Channel 4’s four word social media policy puts it nice and succinctly – don’t be a dick. Simples.
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