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Social Media: Does the 24-Hour Response Rule Apply?


Last week, GovLoop member Julie Jenkins, a Communications Analyst with the Internal Revenue Service, posted a popular forum question in which she declared, “At some point we have to say, enough social media; time for real, live socializing,” and asked: “Where is your social media ceiling?”

DorobekINSIDER host Chris Dorobek and I talked about the forum in this podcast interview:




During our conversation, one of the issues / questions that emerged was this:

Since we’re managing so many different communication platforms (likely 10-15 per person when you consider phone calls, emails, social media, etc.), does the “I’ll get back to you within 24 hours” rule still apply?

Curious to get your thoughts – especially if you’re efficient enough to achieve that feat!


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Profile Photo Corey McCarren

As much as I’d like that to be the case, it definitely isn’t. People are definitely stretched thin between communications and it can at times be evident.

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Profile Photo Mary Yang

Had a great Twitter convo about this, ironically. Kenneth Downs (not a current GovLoop member…? Can’t seem to find him on here!) suggested – first and foremost – that any org shouldn’t jump into social media without the proper resources, and he went on to say that he thinks there should be a 2 hour window with regard to social media responses. But I pushed back a little – when it comes to thanking new followers, retweets, or mentions on Twitter, it’s hard to respond within 2 hours. I think the 24 hour rule does apply in some instances; in others, where matters are more urgent, it may not. Thoughts?

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Profile Photo Allison Primack

This topic sparked a conversation on GovLoop’s Facebook:

Trish Bachman Seems to me that the question is “With so many different platforms for communication, can we really expect people to wait to respond to us beyond 24 hours?”

Lori Gluckman Winterfeldt Just because we CAN respond immediately, doesn’t mean that we should. Haste makes waste (and stress and unrealistic expectations)…as long as the parameters are set up beforehand.
Trish Bachman You don’t have to respond back with the perfect answer immediately, but I believe that an acknowledgment is in order when someone contacts you via social media, the phone, email, etc. I speak in regards to a typical customer service interaction – not something like a FOIA request. If I leave a question on a company’s facebook page, and they haven’t bothered to do anything with it in 24 hours, that tells me that they don’t care.

Trish Bachman Haha, but now that I think about it, maybe that’s just as valid of a communication device. If I don’t respond to someone’s text or email or phone call, maybe I really do want to send that person the message that I am not interested. I mean, haven’t we all done this?
JoAnn Schultz Done what? 😉
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Profile Photo Paula B Golladay

24 hour reply-good rule of thunb, for the most part I follow the rule to a T. If I cannot provide my customer base with the answer in 24 hours I send a reply stating this fact and the new time line I should have the complete answer. Customer service is defined as, handle with care, deliver on time, and provide the best service possible.

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