Social Media Trends in Gov for 2010

I am not a tech-toy pioneer.  It was two years before I logged onto my company’s instant message system because I thought it would create ADD symptoms (it didn’t).  I just got a Blackberry a few weeks ago (yes, Blackberry, not iPhone) because I lost my PalmPilot calendar and they don’t make them anymore.  And I resisted a Twitter account because I thought it was silly, frivolous, and seemingly narcissistic.

In each case, I found myself wrong.  Let me explain why I now Twitter. I found following a few “tweets” actually exposed me to helpful info I would not have seen otherwise.  Being selective helps.  I follow about a half dozen Tweets, including GAO (which announces its new reports daily),  Federal News Radio reporter Chris Dorobek (who posts links to timely government stories), and a new site, OhMyGov!, which highlights interesting government-related stories.

For example, OhMyGov! editor Mark Malseed did a great story, “Social Media for Government:  Six Trends for 2010,” that I’d not have seen if I had not been on Twitter.  Malseed summarized trends from a Harvard Business website article targeted to the private sector, but it is relevant to the public sector as well:

  • Individuals will become more selective about their social media connections and trim back the number of networks they belong to because of information overload.
  • Organizations will look to scale up their social media efforts (and in government, this will likely be driven by the long-awaited Open Government Directive).
  • Managers will be encouraging (not discouraging) their employees to participate in social media on behalf of their organizations.
  • Organizations will create more formal social media policies, and begin to enforce them (I’ve seen corporate dress codes for avatars in Second Life!).
  • Social media will become more mobile-device oriented.
  • Sharing will no longer mean email.  As generations shift in the workplace, email is the new snail mail.

So, do I “tweet?” Well, not really, but I do follow others!  You can follow the IBM Center, though, at: BusofGovernment on Twitter. So, if you haven’t joined, you might try it out and see if it makes a difference.  It’s free!

NOTE:  A subsequent Federal Times Op-Ed, by U.S. Army General Craig McKinley, “Why I Tweet,” provides a powerful example of how leaders can use Twitter to stress important messages across a highly decentralized organization. It’s worth reading!

4 thoughts on “Social Media Trends in Gov for 2010

  1. Great post!

    Social media is not only a way of getting great information, but also a good marketing vehicle. For example, we (Webworld Technologies) have found that Twitter enables us to get into interesting exchanges of information with both prospects and other IT professionals. LinkedIn has enabled me to establish relationships with prospects that would have been more difficult through email or cold calls.

    Realizing the growing importance of social media, we recently redesigned our website where we now actively promote our Blog and Twitter and LinkedIn accounts on our homepage.

  2. I couldn’t agree more with the six trends that were first outlined on the Harvard Business blog by David Armano ( before they were reposted all over the web and declared trends in a variety of contexts – Marketing, Business, Government, etc. I actually thought about doing the same thing for local government on my website before doing the research that lead me to your great blog.
    While I think those six trends are definitely applicable to government, I’d say there’s more in the store for 2010: The Open Government Directive is driving all federal agencies to try new and exciting things using different Web2.0 tools. Online communities of practice like GovLoop will provide new ways to exchange information between different government entities. And the Government2.0 movement along with a wave of new experiments like the AppsForAmerica contest that combine newly available data with social elements will lead the way to more transparency and civic engagement. It’s going to be an exciting year…

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