How Can A Government Agency Use Social Media?

Recently my employer issued a questionnaire to all employees asking for suggestions on how we can incorporate Social Media within our projects and operations. (I’m ecstatic that I work for such a forward thinking organization, as my last employer viewed Social media as the devil). Being very active in Social Media during my somewhat “free” time, I had quite a number of suggestions.

I work in Government (have I mentioned that before?), so we are accountable to the rate payers that we serve – all of our social interactions must be professional. One of the first things I noticed was that our web site that “broadcasts” news does not produce an RSS feed. WTF? In my opinion an RSS feed is a given if you want people to return to your website, not optional,. I’m not sure what the figures are, but I suspect that quite a few of our younger rate payers have set up an RSS reader account somewhere, be it Google Reader, Newsgator or what have you, or a Facebook account or a Twitter account, so why the hell do we not have an RSS feed?

My basic suggestion to my employer is to set up an RSS feed and provide visitors with ways to subscribe to our news. Once we have an RSS feed a whole new world of opportunity can open up to us to share our news and thus increasing our reach such as: feeding to a twitter account to broadcast news, feeding to a Facebook account, MySpace, LinkedIN etc… We could also use the RSS feed to push out a weekly newsletter to subscribers… The options are really endless.

All of this got me to thinking – Maybe I should ask my readers for suggestions:

How does your company use social media with their web presence? What else could a government agency do with Social Media? How can we use Social Media to better serve our rate payers? Yanno – besides using my blog for ideas on how to use social media :) I’d love to hear your suggestions (and I’m sure my employer would too).

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