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

As Brian already knows, ACT/ IAC's Collaboration and Transformation
<>  SIG plans to conduct a
study of best practices with respect to the management of records created in
the course of using social networking services.


I understand NARA may sponsor the study and, if so, one assumption will be
that use of some social media may not be appropriate due to legal and
regulatory requirements.


Discovery is an exceedingly costly part of litigation. &  It would be good if
the eGov IG could make some small contribution to the reduction of such


BTW, a couple months ago the US CTO was asked how the Administration plans
to deal with all the feedback it receives.  He side-stepped the question.
It seems to me that last thing needed is more, poorly structured and
ill-focused "communication".




From: []
On Behalf Of Brian Gryth
Sent: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 10:59 AM
Cc: Owen Ambur; eGovIG IG;;
Subject: Re: [Soc Med] Best Practice initial draft - discussion


Chris, Owen, Jeff and others.


I agree and I don't know why I did not add an evaluation element.  I suppose
that is why this is a draft.  From my reading and research, the key
measurement standards most use for social media is level of engagement and
effectiveness of the application (i.e. accessibility and usability).
Ultimately, Owen's assessment is correct that the evaluation must be based
on what is the desired outcome.  Results are often overlooked unless the
project a failure (and in many case evaluation after failure is used as a
political tool to say gotcha to the opposing side).


Jeff made a comment about the practices being policy heavy.  Although, I
agree that some technical implementation guidelines would be helpful and I
believe the W3C social media task group is working on such guidelines.
Undoubtedly these guidelines will be helpful to government.  However,
government use of social media does present special use guidelines and those
guidelines center around sound policy decisions.  As it is the only thing
guiding government execution of any project.  Social media is a relatively
new field and experimentation is plentiful.  Experimentation is a great
thing and I think government needs to more open to it.  However, as Owen
implies from his comments, taxpayers are sick of waist and failure.  The
failure and waist support needed for evaluation and also the need for clear
goals.  If you look at government's use of social media today, you will find
more lackluster performance than you will find success.  There are probably
many reasons for this, but one is most likely a lack of a purpose or goal
for using social media tools.  Whether the goals and purpose need to be well
defined is debatable, but government needs to put thought into how social
media is going to be used.  Furthermore, groups, like the US CIO council,
have stated in reports that the decision to use social media is a policy
decision and not a technical decision.  I agree with line of thinking.
Decision makers need help those responsible with execution by providing
sound and understandable policy decisions.  These decision makers also need
to be welling to clarify the decision when asked.  These decision makers
cannot simply say "I want the agency to use social media to engage
constituents."   In this example, they need to define what they mean by
engagement because in the social media world that can mean different things.
If we want government to be effective, we need it to start working as a
system with one understandable goal.




On Wed, Mar 17, 2010 at 7:01 AM, Chris Beer <>

(Will reply to the draft more in depth later)

Actually while I see your point Owen - Kerry I feel raises a valid point.
Evaluation, or rather, in the strict technie Social Media sense, analytics
around useage and engagement level of the technology itself (eg: facebook
compared to twitter compared to other SM techs), should constitute a best
practice in some way. Just as web content should always be evaluated
(accessibility and usability studies being perfect examples of, if not best
practice, then accepted practice as part of the use of the technology that
drives it) social media likewise should have evaluation/analytics attached
to it. In the technological sense, this certainly applies as a suitable
focus within the scope - no use having best practice around use if you're
using a fire and forget model in using the technology.



On 17/03/2010 11:41 PM, Owen Ambur wrote: 

Failure to measure, report, and evaluate the effectiveness with which public
resources are being applied constitutes business as usual.  That is not an outcome to
which I would subscribe.


Government is about laws, rules, and policies.  Evaluation of how well it is
serving those purposes is of the essence.  While laws, rules, and policies
are means to ends and policy-makers (e.g., law makers) should focus on the
desired outcomes (e.g., the greatest good for the greatest number of
citizens), the appropriate focus for the eGov IG is how the technology can
best be applied to support the laws, rules, and policies.




From: []
On Behalf Of Webb, KerryA 

Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 5:55 PM
To: Brian Gryth; eGovIG IG

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


How about some form of evaluation?


Or is that too 1.0   <g>


Kerry Webb
Policy Office
InTACT, ACT Government



From: []
On Behalf Of Brian Gryth
Sent: Wednesday, 17 March 2010 7:02 AM
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).






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Received on Wednesday, 17 March 2010 16:24:39 UTC