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RE: [Soc Med] Best Practice initial draft - discussion

From: John Flynn <jflynn@bbn.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2010 17:22:36 -0400
To: "'Brian Gryth'" <briangryth@gmail.com>, "'eGovIG IG'" <public-egov-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <008a01cac54e$cd42aba0$67c802e0$@com>


I applaud the intent of establishing best practices for social media
technology. However, I think the current list, with the exception of item
six, is possibly too restrictive and too policy focused. Imagine that the
time is around 1993 and someone decided to publish a list of best practices
for the new World Wide  Web technology. I expect items like  number two,
which states overall goals and purposes must be  well defined, would not
make a lot of sense. People, both industry and government, were still
experimenting with the technology and in most cases really didn't have clear
ideas as to how the  Web would be eventually used. Possibly social media
technology is somewhat further advanced than the early Web, but I expect
there are still lots of applications of the technology that haven't come to
light yet. Some broad policy guidelines are certainly appropriate, but I
would rather see an attempt at best practices related to technical
implementation, following W3C guidelines where possible. The early best
practice efforts related to the Web were mostly technical in content and
served implementers well as I remember.

John Flynn


From: public-egov-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:public-egov-ig-request@w3.org]
On Behalf Of Brian Gryth
Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 4:02 PM
To: eGovIG IG
Subject: [Soc Med] Best Practice initial draft - discussion


Hello all,


I have drafted some initial thoughts on what are some of the best practices
for use of social media by Government.  I'd like to hear your thoughts.  


Here are my questions for the group:


Are there additional best practices that should be on the list?

Do you disagree with any of the items?

What should be clarified or expanded?


I compiled my list from several sources. I will add citation later, but I
wanted to get something out for discussion.  Please feel free to edit and
revise these initial thoughts on the Soc Med best practices wiki page at


The top six practices that I have identified are as follows:


1) The use of social media is not solely a technical or tool based decision.
It is rather a policy and operational decision that should be based on
organizational culture and whether such use advances the mission of the


2) Before using social media tools a governmental entity must clearly define
the overall goal and purpose of such use.  As with any project or
initiative, development of a strategic plan is critical to success and
smooth operation.


3) The governmental entity should develop a social media policy and create
guidelines for use by the entity and its employees.  The policy and
guidelines for employees should cover representation of agency by an
employee as well as how personal use can impact the agency.


4) The governmental entity should identify communities of interest or core
constituencies that the entity should actively engage.  Engagement should
not focus around the entities web presence rather constituencies should be
engaged where the constituents have a presence.  However, the entity should
be mindful that the entity is a guess of these groups when the entity begins
to engage and that online communities will more readily accept the entity on
its ability to add value to the community.  It is also important to be
mindful that constituent groups are both external and internal.  


5) The governmental entity should assure that the entity is accessible.
Social media should not be the sole channel of communication or engagement
by a government.  Instead social media should be one of multiple channels to
contact and interact with the agency.  It is also highly useful for the
entity to create a directory of the entity's social media accounts and to
post this information on the agencies Web site.


6) A governmental entity needs to embrace a willingness to experiment.
Social media use should be initiated in small pilot projects that maximize
potential success and allow for the pilot to "fail fast and fail small."
Each pilot and the overall social media strategy must be allowed to evolve
and change (i.e. the social media strategy is in perpetual beta).



Received on Tuesday, 16 March 2010 21:23:08 UTC

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