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Snap – Why Instagram Matters in Gov

A few months back we talked to IBM’s Gadi Ben-Yehuda about the business case for Pinterest in government. We discovered Pinterest offered a new way for agencies to showcase their mission. Now GSA has approved terms of service for government to Instagram.

So what’s the big deal?

Ben-Yehuda is the innovation and social media director for IBM’s Center for the Business of Government. He told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program that the indispensable quality of Instagram is the image.

“The killer feature of instagram is that it is mobile. It is actually much easier to scan and search for images on your mobile device,” said Ben-Yehuda.

Instagram is also the fastest application in history to reach one million users. “Instagram was originally a success for the quick photo editing features, now the photo manipulation is less of a draw, rather it is the hashtags,” said Ben-Yehuda. “One of the other big draws is the ability of Instagram to geo-locate images.”


“Instagram now allows you to shoot a 15 second video. Agencies could use this for quick “how to” videos. For example, how to make a splint, or how to extract venom from a snake bite,” said Ben-Yehuda.

Ben-Yehuda’s Instagram’s to Watch

  1. Department of the Interior. Look at this. Or this.
  2. Forest Service. By at least one count, there are more than 2,200 types of trees indigenous to North America. The Forest Service could do well to help amateur botanists by tagging the leaves of each type of tree to an image thereof.
  3. Agriculture. The agency already has a Farmer’s Market app and API; how about a hashtag with geolocation so people share images of their favorite markets along with their address?
  4. Defense. Using Instagram’s video feature, demonstrate basic field medicine for campers, using the tag #fieldmed. How to make a splint, for example.
  5. NASA. Because they’re just not active enough on social media, how about an Instagram feed with constellations or images of recently-past astronomical events? (or just things like this)

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David B. Grinberg

Any GovLoopers out there have experience using Instagram at your agency? If so, please share your thoughts and /or best practices, etc. Thank you.