Bradford Fitch, CEO and President of the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF), joined the “Social media and the 2012 election” class earlier this semester to share insights from a new report on the use of social media by Members of Congress.
Mr. Bradford talked about the many different channels offices are using to respond to their constituents in their home districts. A remarkable take-away from the talk: about 80% of the communication volume is generated by what Mr. Fitch calls “roaring lions”, large professional organizations that are interacting with Members of Congress.
Here are the two videos of Mr. Fitch’s presentation and conversation with the students:
My friends Ya Li, Professor at School of Management and Economics, Beijing Institute of Technology, China, and Sisi Zheng, former EMPA student at the Maxwell School have translated my 2010 PA Times article “Government 2.0 Revisited: Social Media Strategies in the Public Sector” into Chinese.
The article is available online. Here is the full reference:
Ines Mergel. 2012. Gov 2.0 Revisited: Social Media Strategies in the Public Sector. Journal of Chinese Public Administration. Vol.28, Issue 7(July), Page 128. (in Chinese).
Twitter released its first Transparency Report highlighting the number of times they received:
The report shows that the U.S. government has asked Twitter 679 times to reveal user information since January 2012, followed by Japan with 98 and Canada and the United Kingdom with 11 requests each. All other countries listed in the report asked <10 times to reveal user information. In response to government requests to remove tweeted content, Twitter removed content 0% of the time.
Following Google’s transparency report, Twitter submits all requests to @ChillingEffects in order to keep the tweets flowing and ultimately protect freedom of expression online:
IBM’s Center for the Business of Government has just released a special report titled “A Manager’s Guide to Designing a Social Media Strategy“. The report is based on my research and ongoing conversations with social media directors in the U.S. federal government.
From the report:
The 2009 White House Open Government Directive requires all federal government agencies in the U.S. federal government to “open new forms of communication between government and the people.” In response, agencies quickly adopted a wide range of social media platforms, such as blogs, wikis, webcasts, and social networking sites that have become popular channels to increase participation, transparency and collaboration of government agencies with the public. However, there were few government-wide standards. In June 2011 the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) therefore released a report urging federal agencies to set up policies and procedures for managing and protecting information they access and disseminate on social media platforms (GAO-11-605).
Social media encourages widespread spontaneous use and the platform providers frequently change the technological features. Government agencies therefore need to develop clear guidelines so that social media administrators, lawyers, public affairs officials, etc. are all on the same page to avoid violations of and compliance with existing laws and regulations.
This Manager’s Guide is designed to provide a quick overview of issues agency managers need to address as they engage in the social media world. It is organized into three parts. The first part outlines the main components of a social media strategy. The questions posed in this section can be used to help design an organization’s social media strategy. The second part presents tactics that government organizations can use so that social media can help fulfill the mission of their organization. The final part presents support available from the General Services Administration (GSA) to assist agencies in their social media activities.
I couldn’t keep my eyes off the #socialgov Twitter stream today: GSA was hosting a government-only social media day with great guest speakers from Facebook, Twitter, and Google. The participants were very generous and tweeted soundbites from the speakers. I am linking to a few tweets here to share them with others outside Twitter and the federal government. Btw – follow all of them – always great insights and interesting social media innovations:
Facebook’s Katie Harbarth provided the following insights for community pages:
Jossey-Bass/Wiley will be publishing my first book titled “Social Media in the Public Sector: A Guide to Participation, Collaboration, and Transparency in the Networked World” this fall. The book is available for preorder on Amazon.com or directly on the publisher’s website:
In today’s networked world, the public sector is tapping into new media applications to increase government organizations’ participation, transparency and collaboration. The book contains a review of the current state of the public administration literature and shows how Government 2.0 activities can potentially challenge or change the existing paradigms. It includes an overview of each of the tools used to increase participation, transparency and collaboration. The book also highlights case examples at the local, state, federal and international levels. The author offers recommendations for the implementation processes at the end of each chapter and includes suggested readings and references.
A compendium field guide for practitioners will be published a month later. I co-authored the field guide with Bill Greeves and it is also available for preorder on Amazon.com.
This hands-on practical guide (and companion to the Social Media in the Public Sector) offers a ready-to-use reference to help readers move smoothly through the development and deployment of effective new media strategies and policies within their own organizations. The book is filled with illustrative examples, screenshots, diagrams and graphics. Written to be engaging and accessible, the guide has minimal technical jargon, acronyms or “govspeak”. The guidebook includes case studies in the words of those who have implemented new media strategies and an accompanying community-driven website with links to the authors’ blogs and practitioner social networks.
A recent article in the Guardian pointed to the Obama campaign’s “Holy Grail” of campaign technology: the so-called “Dashboard“. The “data acquired by volunteers from voters canvassing in Ohio will immediately be synced with that gathered by those running phonebanks in New Hampshire and with the outreach efforts of volunteers at myBarackObama.com, giving campaign bosses a real-time master view of the president’s re-election efforts throughout the country.” According to the article, “more than 100 statisticians, predictive modellers, data mining experts, mathematicians, software engineers, bloggers, internet advertising experts and online organizers” are still working on verifying that the tool is working according to plan before more details are released.
The idea is to provide local campaigners a tool that allows them to tap into their own local social networks and collaboratively conduct all the tasks online. The article talks about a collaborative building experience similar to Zynga’s Farmville, where players are using the support of their online social
Right now there is not much to see – only a sign up screen, but in the following YouTube video, Jeremy Bird – Obama’s director of field organizing – explains the idea behind the dashboard:
Jeremy Bird defines the Dashboard in the video as :
- the organizing network working to reelect President Obama,
- an online nation-wide field office,
- connecting supporters and bringing them the best tools to build the campaign in their community;
- after signing up, supporters are connected to the grassroots network;
- stay up to date on upcoming local events;
- join a neighborhood team to register, persuade voters (a group of local volunteers);
- build relationships with volunteers in the neighborhood;
- Dashboard helps local volunteers to bring the national campaign office to their own desktop;
- Call voters, report progress, see photos, updates from local team members, helps to organize day-to-day tasks
Facebook has introduced new roles for pages (see graphic). The manager of a page can assign the following roles:
- Content Creator
- Insight Analyst
What is unclear to me is that the manager of the page does not have the same rights as the other roles and is not able to create content, edits the page, add apps, respond to and delete comments, send message, create ads, or view insights. It’s probably a typo or formatting issue of the table and does not reflect the actual functions those different roles can perform. Moreover, why shouldn’t manager know exactly what the impact of the site is? This is where top management needs to be informed: Help people understand that the organization’s social media efforts are making an impact and in case they don’t, initiate changes in the organizational social media tactics.
Especially for local government agencies defining 5-6 different roles might not be necessary. In my experience, even in larger federal agencies, there is usually only a small group of people who are responsible for updating the organizational page.
Pew Internet & American Life Project released a new study on the use of Twitter in 2012.
Here is the summary directly from their website:
As of February 2012, some 15% of online adults use Twitter, and 8% do so on a typical day. Overall Twitter adoption remains steady, as the 15% of online adults who use Twitter is similar to the 13% of such adults who did so in May 2011. At the same time, the proportion of online adults who use Twitter on a typical day has doubled since May 2011 and has quadrupled since late 2010—at that point just 2% of online adults used Twitter on a typical day. The rise of smartphones might account for some of the uptick in usage because smartphone users are particularly likely to be using Twitter.
What is surprising to me is that Twitter is far from being a mainstream social networking service. 15% of online adults use Twitter and only 8% on a daily basis. In comparison, 65% of online adults use social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, or LinkedIn. It shows that Twitter is still a niche service and I can report that most of my students – current and future government leaders – have a very difficult time to get on Twitter, to be part of the conversation, or to find valuable information.
Another surprising fact from the Pew studies is that there does not seem to be an increase in the use of Twitter over the years: A 2010 study reported the same number – 8% of online adults were using Twitter two years ago. This is the same number as in 2012. Interesting!
The White House released a new digital government strategy “Digital Government: Building a 21st century platform to serve the American people“, followed by a Presidential Directive. In the directive the President points out: “
The main points of the roadmap include:
- data.gov is a starting point for new forms of data innovation
- tool/device agnostic (Bring Your Own Device)
- digital government is not about mobile apps/smartphones, instead it’s about connecting people to the data and have them help each other -> important for mobile-not-haves
- private sector and citizen innovators as central parts of the strategy