#GovDebate- Governments Using Social Media

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How can the government benefit from social media? Yesterday, we discussed the role of social media in government agencies and in defense during our #GovDebate on Twitter. Following the announcement by the Pentagon that they would be allocating $42 million in funding for persons and agencies who could help leverage social media for defense and national security, I was intrigued by the notion of tools built on transparency and communication being used to protect and defend. Can social media aid defense measures? What tools may come of this? We looked at these questions and the larger question of how social media can benefit government. Check out the highlights:

1. Grants can help the government better communicate.
There was some debate on whether grants can be quick enough to help the process, but many felt that it will help agencies cut red-tape by contracting outside the government. In addition, there was some sentiment that while $42 million isn’t a lot in the grand scheme of things, there may be many social programs that could use the crowdsourcing and tech support better, such as education and healthcare.

2. How can social media help defense and national security agencies?
Listening and trend-watching tools would help the Pentagon and increase security overall. Other important areas that agencies should look at are tools that can monitor conversations from people of interest and provide emergency alerts to the public. Also, many felt that social media could best be used in defense strategy. The debate then took an interesting turn discussing security issues with this new information.

3. There are some bold agencies currently using social media effectively.
Among these, @TSABlogTeam, USGS, @NotifyNYC, @expoline, @himss, @open_to, @goto2040, and @chicagocdo were highlighted.

4. As more government agencies engage in social media, they need to also keep in mind traditional media.
Governments proposing solutions must include both social media users and non-users, accounting for different demographics and needs. Also, agencies need to send out consistent information across all channels to help users. And users need mechanisms to determine valid information over gossip and rumors.

What would you add to the conversation? How do you think the government could maximize social media and emerging technologies to better serve citizens? Share your thoughts with us.

Thanks again to all those that participated and let us know if you have a topic you’d like to see discussed.

Nicky Yates

Director of Communications, Social Media Week

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