Department of Veterans Affairs publishes updated social media policy


The Department of Veterans Administration has recently published an updated social media policy (VA Directive 6515 – Use of Web-Based Collaboration Technologies).

Prior to this release the Government Accountability Office has published a report for Congress titled “Federal Agencies Need Policies and Procedures for Managing and Protecting Information They Access and Disseminate” – highlighting that federal agencies need to think about ways to ensure secure use of social media tools by their employees.

The updated VA social media policy focuses not only on secure and safe use of social media tools, but also on the conduct of employees engaging in real-time exchanges with the public:

“This isn’t about using social media because it’s cool or because it’s a fad,” said VA Director of Online Communications Brandon Friedman.  “It’s about getting the right information to the right Veteran at the right time.  This policy sets us on a path toward changing how we talk—and listen—to Vets.” 

Media coverage:

1. Washington Post: VA revamps its social media policy (08/16/2011)
2. Washington Post Blog: VA establishes social media policy (08/16/2011)
3. Gov Info Security: VA aggressively adopts social media (08/17/2011)

4. Stars & Stripes blog: VA seeks new impact with latest social media push (08/17/2011)

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About Ines Mergel

I am Full Professor of Public Administration at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at University of Konstanz, Germany. Previously, I served as Assistant and then Associate Professor (with tenure) at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, NY. In my research, I focus on informal social networks in the public sector and the adoption and diffusion of digital service innovations in government organizations. I teach classes on social media management, digital government, public management, and social network analysis.

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