Best Week Ever in #SocialGov: December Edition

_(This is the next installment of an ongoing series charting the programs, events and people that make the emerging field of social media and data in government an exciting place to serve the public. Agencies are encouraged to submit their own stories for this travelogue of digital innovation.)_

From where I sit, there’s no better way to wrap up a great year than by taking a look at the future of emerging digital government with the #Socialgov Community. Agencies aren’t only advancing social technologies for more effective and efficient public services for citizens, but are reaching across missions to collaboratively develop new strategies and policies.

For example, the Department of Defense (DoD) hosted their latest All Services Social Media Conference at Georgetown University, featuring presentations on U.S. Marine Corps strategy, Facebook and Instagram updates and more. This conference series launched in 2010 to bring together social media practitioners from all branches of the military for knowledge-sharing, and continues to grow as social technologies spread throughout the military.

Bridget Serchak of the DoD Inspector General (IG) office is a regular attendee of the conferences and active member of our federal-wide #SocialGov Community. Her team, including Greg Dubin and Kyle Richardson, identified a need for IG offices across government to collaborate on social media, so they launched a targeted network to unite them.

When it comes to to providing better programs for our service members, the military’s social media managers are ready to answer the call.

Another great example of how social media managers are working together across agencies is our recent hands-on** #SocialGov Summit** on Prizes and Competitions with the Challenge.gov team. A public prize spurred Charles Lindbergh to fly across the Atlantic — now agencies are using them to drive innovation and solve mission-centric problems by posing a problem or question to the public and encouraging “solvers” to respond and submit solutions.

Participants gathered to help develop tools and resources agencies need to better design, implement, market, and follow-up on their challenge programs. Lessons included community building and retention, partnerships, communications and performance measurement.

What’s an example of an exciting social technology challenge? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking citizens to develop a solution for predicting the spread of the flu using data from social media posts — and is offering a $75,000 prize. It’s a great example of taking social media beyond standard communications and applying scientific method to create a new generation of government services.

So what’s next? Our federal-wide #SocialGov Community continues to grow with 500 members from more than 130 government agencies and partners. The combined effort was recently recognized by Fedscoop as the “Most Inspiring Newcomer to Watch” in federal information technology, and our members look forward to tackling our shared obstacles and developing better programs to make 2014 the best year yet in social media for public service. Join us by sending an us an email with “Join #SocialGov” in the subject line, and introduce us to how you are making a difference for citizens.

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