Social media has revolutionized government’s interactions with its citizens. A new survey by NASCIO found 100% of state chief information officers said social media is apart of their business operations. 83% said they use Facebook. 81% use Twitter. 83% use Youtube. 80% of CIOs say social media is either essential or a high priority at their agency.
That’s a big change from the 2010 NASCIO survey results. So what has changed in practice and policies for social media in local and state government? Doug Robinson is the executive director of NASCIO.
He told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program that NASCIO looked at a variety of issues around social media.
“About 75% of CIOs surveyed said they have some sort of official state social media policy. The rub there is that CIOs aren’t particularly sure in many cases about their role in applying the enterprise policy. Their answers differ in the use of social media in state government. In some cases they provide for social media aggregation. Or they may provide for training and exposure to using social media. But many believe they should have policy authority but perhaps they don’t because their statue of authority doesn’t extend that far. A lot of state CIOs don’t feel they should decide who is involved in social media policy and how it should be used,” said Robinson.
Implementation Before Policy
“A lot of this implementation was done by default. All the states were using 3rd party hosted platforms like youtube and twitter. It was very easy to access those services. States didn’t have to go out and do competitive solicitation, there was very little barrier to adoption so unfortunately we had all the horses out of the barn and using social media and the policy folks and the CIO office was running as fast as they could catch up.”
- Who has the authority level in terms of the agency? Some states started out as originally blocking social media for all state employees and then providing exemptions. We’ve seen a little bit of a relief in that area. In some cases because right now their aren’t any states that I am aware of where their state prohibits social media by agencies or entities. But there are still some prohibitions around employees.
- In many cases only public affairs people still have access to login information.
- You need a a policy that allows for the free flow of information between government and commentators. You need to protect first amendment rights for people commenting on either the government’s new policy or some government action that they get to do without repercussions.
- Consider mobility. Social media use by the pubic is a substantial amount of that is being done on mobile devices, smartphones and tablets. The future of interactions for state government employees will probably not be at a fixed laptop but on a mobile device.
- Create a legal checklist. Often states don’t give much thought to the legal ramifications going back almost four years now is to the areas of the terms of service.
- Public record. In most states a tweet is a public record. States are archiving for public record purposes tweets, facebook posts, youtube clips to be perserved because they are a born digital record of the actions of government. So those are some of the complexities.
- CIOs need to be recognized as the business leaders of IT as opposed to simply the infrastructure managers of the boxes and wires.
Changing Role of the CIO
“Technology represents a great opportunity but continues to force CIOs to take more risks. CIOs are more risk managers. They still have to maintain all the legacy systems that states still have while at the same time dealing with stuff like social media, mobility and cloud.”
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