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The Rise of Social Government – Fels Institute Social Media Report Sneak Peak

This week I had the chance to sit in a 
webinar, The Rise of Social Government, which was presented by the Fels Institute and sponsored by GovDelivery. The webinar previewed a report that will be released shortly on how local governments are using social media. I thought it was a fascinating discussion; the
 slides and 
audio presentationare now available for you to view online. The report and webinar were presented by the following:

  • Eric Rabe, Senior Advisor, University of Pennsylvania, Fels Institute of Government. Rabe also spoke to Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program.

  • Katherine Parker, Associate Consultant, University of Pennsylvania, Fels Institute of Government’s Research & Consulting
  • Lauren Hansen-Flashen, Associate Consultant, University of Pennsylvania, Fels Institute of Government’s Research & Consulting

I’m excited to view the study when it is released. The study surveyed 108 cities and performed 21 in-depth interviews during the summer of 2011. The report identifies best practices, case studies and important data to understand the impact of social media at the local level. The report should be available sometime this month.

Some of the findings revealed from the report are that social media continues to grow despite a tight fiscal climate, cities use social media to meet core operation goals, social media extends beyond communications, and cities have become much more proactive in measuring and monitoring social media. Other findings indicate that Twitter and Facebook remain the dominant platforms for local government; many municipalities noted that they have multiple accounts with Facebook and Twitter. The webinar also hinted at some really interesting case studies related to use of QR Codes, FourSquare, and other mobile applications.

One quote that stood out to me is “90% of cities use social media for an activity other than communications.” The Fels Institute cited economic development, political engagement, emergency management, service operations all as potential ways government has extended the use of social media beyond communications departments.

Another area that was touched upon was monitoring social media activity. This has consistently been one of the major challenges for agencies. How can agencies cut through the noise and extract value from their engagement on new and emerging social platforms? The webinar showed some useful insights to what local government is doing, the report cites that 65% of cities report monitoring social media on an hourly or real-time basis. They also listed that cities monitor, demographics, trending topics, keywords, specific conversations and other organizations. They listed applications such as Hootsuite, Google Reader, Facebook Insights, Tweetdeck, Addict-o-matic, Mon.itor.us, and SeeSemic as tools local governments are using.

The report will be really interesting to see and take a look at their findings. I’d encourage you to take a listen to the webinar and view the slides as a sneak peak, and also learn a lot about what is happening at the local level with social media.

GovDelivery is the #1 sender of government-to-citizen communications, serving over 400 government entities worldwide and more than half of major U.S. federal agencies. Organizations use GovDelivery to send over 200 million messages every month on a broad range of topics including national emergencies, health alerts, tax policy changes and more. Check out their
User Group on GovLoop as well as the
Technology Sub-Community of which they are a
council member.

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