Is There a Place for Social Media in Government?

Mmmm....cake. And government info.

Nearly 60 percent use it.  Over 40 percent find it useful.  And nearly 63 percent have access to it.  Social Media.  Is there a place for it in government? According to an article in Government Technology, there is–like it or not!

But why social media?  Because social media is accessible anywhere, anytime, and by anyone, the advantages of working on a social media platform mean inclusiveness, flexibility, and timing.  Social media allows for a virtual “meeting of the minds” where fellow government personnel can converse despite location, time zones, and even language barriers. In fact, city governments in Seattle, New York, and California are all making social media more of a priority in their cities, hoping to lessen the digital divide.

According to Government Technology, the most common platforms used by government workers include LinkedIn (59%), Facebook (45%), You Tube (45%), and Twitter (41%).  This makes sense: LinkedIn is the ideal place for industries to converge, toss ideas around, and share tools and techniques.  Black Mountain Software has developed just such a place, City Clerk Cafe, where clerks around the country converge to share ideas and information. But what about the other networks, such as Facebook, Google+, and Twitter?  With the ability to group Facebook contacts according to interests and employers, and with an increase in privacy requirements, Facebook could quickly catch up. Google+’s platform, which segments contacts by interests, friends, and professional contacts into “circles”, also has potential on the government worker front.

It is important to note that 27 percent of survey respondents said they are not allowed access to social media platforms.  However, government agencies themselves are slowly finding the benefits of social media to meet their goals.  For example, the Department of Homeland security is looking to mine social media for terrorist threats, the Obama campaign certainly understood the influence of social media in attracting the youth vote, and even military organizations have seen the benefit of social media, launching several successful recruiting campaigns.

We’re taking our own poll!  Do you use social media in your government job?  How is it, or how could it be useful in your professional pursuits?

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