The rush is on! Go to any government conference or read many of the case studies that have been developed and you will see the industry (of the Government) congratulating agencies basically for “trying” social media. Much like the private sector, government agencies have been diving into social simply by signing up for accounts. According to a study just released by L2: over 80% of the Government agencies they studied had a presence on each of Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Even with all of those accounts, that same study rated 75% of those same agencies as having a below average or average at best digital IQ and if you try to find any meaningful case studies out of all that activity, you will be looking a long time for very little.
So it’s safe to say that activity does not equal progress when it comes to social media adoption and usefuleness whether you are in the public or private sector. But before we call all Agencies on the rug, it is important to to recognize some glimmers of brilliance from the study:
- NASA – is the clear leader of Agencies with innovations in social that include tweetups, the Buzzroom experiment, incorporating social into their websites that drive demonstrable traffic and innovation challenges that drive results.
- Data.gov & Challenge.gov – both are cross-agency sites designed to aggreagate public sector needs with private sector innovation in an open and relatively transparent way.
- Armed Forces – have taken to social media for recruiting purposes and have been doing a very good job at it. Sites like the National Guard have teamed with private sector sites to crowdsource “cool factor” with their Show Us Your Guns campaign.
These glimmers of hope seem to be just that. Right when it seems an agency is embracing social (TSA Blogs), they slide down the slippery slope into oblivion. When you start to look at reasons for the lack of effectiveness, one recent survey from the National Assn. of Counties who surveyed their member counties reported that almost 80% said they had no social media policy in place. While it is not the only reason, it certainly would contribute to a lack of effectiveness in using social media within government.
It seems that what is missing is simple execution. Like anything new, the technology often gets adopted before the governance is in place which leads to a wide open door to a room full of risk, unlawful activity and plain mis-judgements that stem from an approach that is less about trial and more about error. The good news from this is these challenges have already been addressed. Many private sector companies were leaping into the social world led be interns and a rogue IT person and have learned many leassons about privacy, governance, systems integration, managing digital networks and more. So the real question becomes how to transfer the tribal knowledge that is being accumulated in the private sector and use it to short-cut public sector initiatives.
It was exactly one year ago that we did our first event on how the digital world was impacting the Government. Being one year later, we thought it would be interesting to see how far this conversation has come. Who else is bring this conversation into the spotlight other than John Moore. John brings an innovator’s mindset with the battlescars to prove his experience. He has many accolades including founding and running The Lab for all things Gov2.0. For this week’s event, the topic and questions are:
Topic: Apply Your Social Media Experience In Government
Q1: What is “Open Gov” or “Gov2.0”?
Q2: How can business work with Local/State Gov in social?
Q3: What do social businesses need to know to work with Government?
Please join us in this online chat on Tuesday, November 30 at noon ET. Follow #sm88 from your favorite Twitter client or simply go to our LIVE page at www.hashtagsocialmedia.com/live. The format will stay the same with the first question starting at noon and a new question coming every 20 minutes at 12:20 and 12:40.