Tag Archives: Flickr

States List Government Agencies’ Social Feeds

Post by: Kim Stephens

Can you readily identify every government agency that has a social media presence in your town, county, or state? During  a crisis having a “dashboard” of all of these feeds would be very valuable information. It would be interesting to survey every state to see how they are providing citizens this information. From my own sample of 10 states: Alaska, Vermont, Illinois, Massachusetts, Hawaii, New Mexico, Missouri and the ones listed below, it seems to be about 70% have aggregated social media links. There are, however, various levels of how well this is executed. In my opinion, good execution would include an embedded and aggregated feed, lists of both state and local agencies, obvious navigation to the list from the homepage, and intuitive design.

Maryland–my homestate, for example, has a list of every agency and a hyperlink to their social media pages. It is easy to find this list from their homepage, the have a handy “More Social Media” tab that takes the user directly to it, however, the user does have to leave the State’s page to see the information.

The Texas.gov landing page also has a similar list, as does Virginia. I really like how Virginia lists both the local government agencies on social media as well as its State Universities. It’s a tad clunky how they display the list for the social media platforms, though. For example, on the right is a snap shot of their agencies on Facebook, but the user has to navigate to the “twitter” link  to find the agencies using that tool, and has to do the same for each tool listed:  Blogs, YouTube, Flickr, RSS, Podcasts and Widgets.

On the Utah “Connect with Government” page, the user also has to first choose the platform before they can see the agencies using the tool. I like that localities are listed, similar to Virginia, but with a new twist: the user sees all updates in real-time without having to click away from the page. I would change the navigation to this page, however, users really have to know what they are looking for–it is buried in the Government tab, under the subtab “Connect with Government”.  It’s easy to forgive the User Interface designers, though, because the whole site is beautiful.

My favorite State site I visited, regarding incorporation of SM, has to be Delaware. There is no second guessing whether or not they are using social media because the entire landing page is taken up by all of their statewide SM feeds, for example, even the bottom of the page is a Flickr gallery. The designers also include a handy tag cloud for users to search information.  I don’t have to know which agency is responsible for “unclaimed property”, I just click on the key word: fabulously simple.

Does you local government aggregate the agencies using social media on their home page? Let me know.

New to Social Media? Here’s the first piece of the puzzle.

Guest Post: Cheryl Bledsoe
Cheryl has 15 years of experience in state and county government. Currently serving as the Emergency Management Division Manager at the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA). Supervise & manage Emergency Operations Center for geographic area serving population center of 424,000.

Social Media Landscape

The world of social media can seem overwhelming to the newcomer.  There are many articles and presentations which tout its importance, but when faced with all of the online possibilities, it can seem easier to simply turn off the computer and avoid making any changes. Here are some simple tips and tools for understanding and observing the very basics of social media:

  • Spend 3-5 minutes per day watching a tutorial video like those available in the “social media pack” at www.commoncraft.com.  Each of these videos are 2-3 minutes in length and will give you a very basic understanding of key terms and concepts.
  • Find 2-3 blogs that you like to read.  Pay attention, not only to the content, but what do you like about what you see.
  • If you have a personal Facebook Fan Page, start paying attention to the businesses in your local community.  How do they promote themselves?  How often do they post something new about their business?  And what seems to be popular locally?
  • If you don’t have a Twitter account, venture onto www.TweetGrid.com and do a couple of keyword searches for some of the items in the news.  Watch how people talk to each other in this medium.  Look for #hashtags and @[name] mentions.  Click on either to learn more about the topic or see who is doing the talking.

The key is to be patient with yourself in learning about social media.  Because it is less than 5 years old, in most cases, there are many people who are still learning the ropes and many who will share their personal experiences in its use.  The challenge is to avoid running and breaking it down into bite-sized puzzle pieces so that you and your agency can use it effectively to share the information that needs to be heard.