Best Week Ever in #SocialGov: 2

Sep 30, 2013
Agencies are leading the way in educating other government programs, using specialists including NASA's Jenn Gustetic; GSA's Justin Herman; FAA's Karen Snyder; FAFSA's Nicole Callahan; State's Corina DuBois; Education's Cameron Brenchley; CFPB's Deepa Kunapuli; and live-streamed guests from Australia, Ireland and Canada.

(This is the second installment of an ongoing series charting the programs, events and people that make the emerging field of social media and data in government

From where I sit, I think we just had a great week in #socialgov. From a sold-out international forum that demonstrated how we can use free tools to host a world-class event, to milestones in the Defense community and new colleagues in Italy, there are no shortage of great things happening in federal social media — and it will only get better next week._ an exciting place to serve the public. Agencies are encouraged to submit their own stories for this travelogue of digital innovation._)

Social Media Club DC invites the SocialGov community to forum

Image of SocialGov Summit speakers.
What happens when one of the largest digital communities in Washington, D.C., invites federal social media managers to “sit on a small panel for an hour”? All the stops are pulled out, and a showcase of global proportions unfolds.

Social Media Club DC hosted a Social Media and Government event featuring our SocialGov Community of Practice, with seven agencies and collaborators from three nations participating in front of a packed house. The agenda demanded presenters cover:

  • The future of digital public services and your role in shaping them
  • How agencies manage hundreds of accounts and millions of followers with limited resources
  • How you can expect more from government social media and help drive change
  • Opportunities for entrepreneurs and future socialgov practitioners

Stepping up to that challenge was a selection of innovators across mission areas of government, all using social media in different ways to improve citizen services and reduce costs: Jason Townsend (@NASA); Nicole Callahan (@FAFSA); Deepa Kunapuli (@CFPB); Karen Snyder (@FAANews); Cameron Brenchley (@usedGov); Corina DuBois (@TravelGov) and myself as moderator (@GovNewMedia).

You can’t get this community together though without exciting things happening. To emphasize how issues in #socialgov are of global concern, and how we can easily and freely collaborate across oceans without the need for big resources, we were joined via Google Hangout by:

  • Martha McLean (Canada): Deputy Director, Digital communications and Engagement, Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Development
  • Dr. Murray Scott (Ireland): Professor in Business Information Systems at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, National University of Ireland Galway and a research associate at the Whitaker Institute of Innovation and Societal Change
  • Charlie Carter (Australia): Accessibility reference group lead at the Emergency Wiki 2.0, a free global resource to collaborate using social media during emergencies and natural disaster situations.

The SocialGov Community of Practice thanks Social Media Club DC for inviting us to demonstrate the great things we’re capable of when we work together, and looks forward to other invitations to turn local events into international meetings of the minds.

Pentagon IG social media program marks two-year anniversary

Congratulations to the the Department of Defense’s Inspector General (IG) social media team, that turns two years-old this month and quickly rose to lead an engaged community.

Their social media efforts have greatly expanded over the past two years since it issued its first tweet on September 16, 2011. To illustrate, on Friday, September 20, the Tampa Tribune led its story, “Centcom asked to revise plan for how U.S., Iraqi military will interact” with a reference to a DoD IG tweet on their report of the same topic. It’s notable that a single, succinct tweet on policy can inspire an entire news story.

This team doesn’t just create opportunities for their home team though. In May 2012 public affairs reps from DoD IG and HHS OIG (the two largest OIGs in the 73 member IG community) met for the first time to discuss the unique IG communications arena. They took a look at other communities like our SocialGov one that bring folks together, and welcomed a special collective of more than 30 other OIG communicators to meet.

They are now more than 100 members strong after one year, four meetings and the launch of a robust listserv. Congratulations and thank you for your contributions Bridget Serchak, Greg Dubin and Kyle Richardson.

Army hosts Twitter chat in support of Suicide Prevention Month

The Army’s Online and Social Media Division hosted a Twitter chat Sept. 26 in conjunction with representatives from the Office of the Chief of Chaplains and the U.S. Army Suicide Prevention Program in support of Suicide Prevention Month.

This sparked a dialogue with Twitter users about the Army Chaplain Corps’ work to cultivate spiritual resilience and Army G1s work to reduce the stigma associated with getting help. During this hour-long engagement, representatives answered nearly every user’s question, ranging from suicide prevention resources to suicide risk factors to training and policy. Be sure to check out a list of the Q&As from the chat to see how they made it happen.

Ciao Italia! A delegation from Italy visits to discuss digital government

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a great idea. The team at ItaliaCamp visited GSA last week to discuss how their international ideation program is helping innovators breathe life into their best ideas and make them a reality for all to benefit from.

ItaliaCamp is an unconference that promotes and supports social innovation and the development of new ideas as answers to real needs. Its purpose is to fill the gap between ideas and their implementation.

Karen Trebon of (the newly re-designed) joined me in welcoming the team, and discussing how public prizes, competitions and social innovation can help entrepreneurs and all citizens better address the emerging needs of their communities. Like with the Saudi Arabian delegation who met us two weeks ago, it’s always intriguing to learn of the unique challenges our colleagues in others countries face, but also to identify where we can share more.

What’s next?

Every day dozens of federal agencies are using social media to better inform, engage and learn from citizens to improve our public services and reduce costs. From FAFSA‘s #AskFAFSA Twitter office hours to the launching of new tools for agencies to use, I have a pretty good feeling we’re already in the midst of the next best week in socialgov ever. From all of us here on the @GovNewMedia team, thanks for making it happen!