State of the #SocialGov 2014

Feb 18, 2014

If the silos and barriers that separated our programs are smashed, what could we do to realize the full potential of innovation in public service?

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 livestreamed guests from Australia, Ireland, and Canada.

Whether you’re a citizen who needs better access to services, an entrepreneur looking to spark innovation in the marketplace, or a public servant who wants to get your mission done more effectively and efficiently — there have never been more opportunities to achieve these through social media in government.

Our State of the #SocialGov 2014 webinar discussed growth in the Federal Social Media Community of Practice, known as the #SocialGov Community, and how more than 500 members from more than 130 agencies are working together to create a government that is more:

  • Citizen-centric: by creating programs that begin and end with providing a better customer experience based on feedback, analysis and responsiveness;
  • Integrated: by sharing and collaborating better between agencies and citizens, whether through the web, mobile or data anytime, anywhere on any device;
  • Efficient: by adopting and customizing the best new tools and strategies for public services in an effort to drive continuous, performance-based improvements.

The bottom line is that social media in the federal government should measurably improve citizen services, measurably make services more cost effective, or both.

Just one example of this is how DigitalGov University is offering four times the social media events and training for federal agencies than in 2012, with the same resources — our community is turning digital engagement into a cost-effective knowledge management system that in turn will continue to create products and programs to improve government.

Looking at social media in public service, though, we first need to consider changes in the field and dispel myths about what is important for improving public service:

  • Social media is more than Twitter or Facebook — today’s digital engagement programs include any combination of dozens of platforms depending on the unique mission needs and goals of the organization.

  • Basic indicators like number of followers or amplified reach are only a small part of the story — the real performance metrics involve how those activities are impacting the bottom line of the mission.

  • We used to talk about government needing rock stars — modern digital engagement shops need orchestra leaders that seamlessly work in concert with other programs in order to improve their services and cut costs.

So how can you get involved in making this vision for improved digital engagement happen?

If you’re an entrepreneur or small business, there has never been a better time or more opportunities to participate in advancing innovative technologies and services in government:

  • Amend a federal-friendly terms of service so your apps, dashboards, analysis and management tools can be used by agencies across government.

  • Work with us on a custom API from the Federal Social Media Registry or open data from social media accounts across government to fuel your products and services.

  • Participate and encourage the development of a growing number of prizes and competitions open to citizens this year to create new ways of using social media to improve public services.

Digital engagement to support entrepreneurs and small businesses is just one of the initiatives in development for this year: programs to improve policy development, accessibility for persons with disabilities, performance analysis, e-regulations and crisis management are also underway — and there’s more to come.

If you’re a federal employee, keep an eye on the Social Media homepage of DigitalGov for posts on digital engagement across government, events and training opportunities from DigitalGov University, and information about how you can join the #SocialGov Community. You can also sign up for daily or weekly updates so you don’t miss a thing.

You can start by registering for our next workshop, #SocialGov Summit: Global — keynoted by Edwin Lacierda, spokesperson of the President of the Philippines, and featuring the State Department, USAID, Peace Corps, American Red Cross and World Bank. The challenges and opportunities we face in advancing digital engagement is one shared by all agencies, and together we can work together — including our international partners — to continue raising the bar to improve citizen services and make them more cost effective.