Social Media: Some Resources and A Challenge

I just finished reading a critique on GovLoop of the recent Open Government & Innovations conference.  You have to join Govloop to read it, but if you’re reading my blog, I recommend joining anyway – it’s a great community of more than 10,000 people in and around gov’t.

I see this sort of thing regularly: people who have high hopes that aren’t met. As someone who enjoys teaching and leading, it’s hard to watch people who want to move out get frustrated.

After reading her post and the comments, I wrote up a decently long set of resources with a challenge at the end, and I’ve copied it here for my own recordkeeping. What follows is exactly the same as what’s in my comment there.

As EPA’s Director of Web Communications and co-chair of the Social Media Subcouncil, I want to offer some things and suggest some things. Please bear with the length.

First, things to offer:
1) Please do check out the Social Media Subcouncil’s wiki. For those of you unfamiliar with us, we’re govies doing our best to help gather best practices and the kind of practical info you want, Jaime. Most directly useful might be the growing list of social media policies, both general and specific For example, you’ll find links to EPA’s blogging guidance, which is very specific, and the Air Force’s overarching social media policy.

There are many agencies writing policies right now, including EPA, so I think you’ll see lots more examples in the coming months.

BTW, we mean it that it’s a wiki. Want to start a document? Get a free account and go for it! And please, please, PLEASE edit the docs you find there. We really need your help!

2) I’ve given many webinars on these subjects, and all of my presentations are free for the taking on Slideshare.net. Your complaint about people not using the Internet to deliver presentations notwithstanding, I’ve had these out there for months. In particular, you might find three useful:
a) Social media and the gov’t: a brief overview for managers. I’m currently making my way around EPA giving this to senior managers. Believe me, they’re not the choir, but they’re getting there through lots of time spent presenting, answering questions, and being a resource for them.
b) From 30,000 feet to 3 feet: running a federal blog: my presentation on how we run our blog, Greenversations, from high-level thinking to nitty gritty.
c) Earth Month 2009: mixing Web 1.0 and 2.0:specifics of how we combined multiple channels to achieve our outreach goals.

I also offer these as webinars from time to time, which you’ll find out about if you’re a member of the Web Managers Forum listserv (open only to gov’t employees at any level; also be sure to check the monthly call archive) or follow me on Twitter.

3) The social media section of webcontgent.gov has lots of info and some best practices. The Social Media Subcouncil is currently revamping it.

4) Talk about specific, here’s a wonderful template for a gov’t agency Twitter policy, with lots of useful info beyond the policy itself. Many thanks to Neil Williams from the UK!

5) usa.gov has several lists of social media efforts across US gov’t agencies at all levels. It’s far from just DoD, NASA, EPA, HHS, or any other short list. Check the lists out and be inspired.

Now for my suggestion: work up a set of questions you want answered. Be as specific as you want to be. And we on the Subcouncil will do a series of webinars where we put people on who can answer them.

And, finally, a request: LEAD and TEACH. You’d be amazed at how much you know. Again, I’ll offer a webinar mechanism you can use to do so. Just tell me what you want to do and when.

In sum: do more than give feedback on someone else’s conference. Grab the reins and show us the way! :)

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