It’s one of the most important words to a federal social media account manager and knowing who to talk to can sometimes make or break a communications campaign.
The idea of making sure your social media accounts are reaching key constituents and members of the general public certainly isn’t new. DigitalGov University (DGU) offers a variety of webinars and training seminar regarding digital media and citizen engagement.
But what about engaging other federal agencies?
Making sure your federal social media accounts are following and engaging with other official accounts is not only practical, it can also increase communication between agencies. This, in turn, can enhance the overall presence of government and the good work it’s doing for citizens on a platform.
In addition to engaging other federal agencies on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, we here at USFWS have also begun to enhance our presence on the blogging platform Tumblr. Since I am blogging more frequently on our Open Spaces Tumblr, I want to make sure I’m communicating with official federal Tumblr accounts.
Tumblr, as many of you probably know, encourages users to search via hashtag. This is fine if you want to see who is blogging about #nature or #photography, but searching something like #government or #federalgovernment doesn’t necessarily reveal official Federal government accounts.
I have found that relying on these hashtags alone can sometimes produce mixed results. Some accounts look official, while others are clearly bogus. Googling helps, but rogue accounts do pop up in those search results, as well. Additionally, I’ve found myself occasionally looking at well-intentioned accounts that have been started by federal employees (or former federal employees), but that are not actually official expressions of the agency in question.
This is where I find the Registry tool helpful. When I come across an account that has the look and feel of a federal agency, I simply grab the link and plug it in. If the account is registered, I know it’s ok to follow.
I would be interested to know if other federal social media account managers use this tool in a similar manner. Although I will admit that I have become much more familiar with Tumblr after using it every day during the past few months, I do still love the fact that I can rely on the Registry tool to make sure an account is official. I have also used the Registry to verify the veracity of newer federal Twitter accounts, too. (There seem to be more online every day!)
What I would like to see in the future is some sort of comprehensive list of agency social media accounts or websites. We recently launched our own Social Media Hub here at USFWS and I know other agencies like NASA and USGS have similar websites. In addition to the Registry, a Hub of all of these sites on usa.gov would be helpful to the public and federal social media managers alike.
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