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Project of the Week: Gov2Social

Throughout the year, GovLoop will be featuring projects and people from among our 2010 Partners. This week’s Project of the Week is brought to you by Microsoft, sponsors of our Cloud Computing Topics Page, making it easier for you to find content on that key subject. The also host a great group called “Microsoft Productivity for Government” that enables you to discuss and share tips for using their products and services to perform your work more effectively. Thanks, Microsoft, for teaming up with us to bring GovLoopers more awesomeness!

Dr. GovLoop recently caught up with Kristin Bockius, Microsoft’s State and Local Government Marketing Manager, to learn more about an awesome project called Gov2Social. Below are her thoughts from our interview.

Dr. GovLoop: Can you provide an overview of Gov2Social?

Bockius: We have developed a standalone Web site which will serve as a resource to state and local governments across the United States while demonstrating the adoption of social media as a way to connect with citizens and create open and transparent government. Because it serves as a centralized social media directory and is organized by city/town, county, and state, the site will also be a key resource for citizens who wish to follow the actions, activities, and announcements of their governments and elected officials on social media.

Dr. GovLoop: What was the impetus for its creation?
Bockius: The federal government is rallying behind the Open Government Directive and its social media implications in a very connected way, but we saw a real need to help state and local governments connect with each other to navigate the social media space. We also wanted to create a place to highlight the work that state and local governments have been doing around social media. Gov2Social makes it easy to find state and local governments online, all in one place, and will soon be a place to find success stories in state and local social media, as well.

Dr. GovLoop: Who are your target communities?
Bockius: We are targeting all sizes of US state and local governments–agencies, individuals, and elected officials. We also believe this is a site that will be useful for citizens who want to follow their local governments online.

Dr. GovLoop: How does Gov2Social compare to similar projects?
Bockius: We don’t feel like this is similar to anything else that we have done – except that we have built it on Microsoft Azure, which Townhall was built on (
announced last week).

There are government social media directories out there today, such as govtwit and twittercongress, but this is the first effort we know of that brings both together social media links of all kinds for state and local governments and allows them to be filtered by locale.

Dr. GovLoop: Got any early examples of success?
Bockius: We searched for many examples of state and local governments online to get the site started. We found over 300 examples, and we know we barely scratched the surface. In the long term, the success of this site depends on state and local governments adding to the directory.

Dr. GovLoop: What’s your ultimate vision for the project?
Bockius: We want Gov2Social to be the online social media center for state and local government, both for finding social media outlets to follow or emulate and for sharing successes with your state and local government peers. As social media in state and local government changes and grows, the site will change and grow as well. In the next few weeks, we will be adding best practices and podcasts highlighting government 2.0 at work in state and local government, and we will be inviting state and local governments to add to those resources with links to more best practice content.

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Pretty cool. I found my Florida people. I think the “Add” feature is pretty useful and nice…

Would be interesting to compare states and see how it varied across regions of the country.

Ken Barlow

Any thoughts on providing an API that software developers could use to automatically add or update entries? Not sure if we can pull this from the social media sites, but maybe we also could periodically update number of fans/followers. That would be great info for the directory …

Heather Heater

What’s not clear to me about gov2social is if you can list multiple feeds under an agency’s name. For example, my agency has multiple twitter accounts and at least three fb accounts.