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Report: U.S. government adoption of social media uneven, needs improvement

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Despite the Obama administration's Digital Government Strategy, the use of digital platforms is "by no means standard across the government" with some federal employees still prohibited from accessing social media sites,  according to a new report released Jan. 9 by the Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton.

While government adoption and use of digital technologies remains uneven with some "pockets of excellence and innovation," the compelling value of social media to agencies is clear, the report says. One of the biggest and most significant drivers for agencies to embrace social media, according to the report, is that an entire generation of voters and taxpayers now expects to communicate and conduct transactions through digital platforms.

"Program managers who lag cannot expect that doing things the way they have always done them will continue to be effective in the new environment," chides the report. "They need to catch up with the nearly decade-old social media revolution, not only to benefit now, but also to be prepared for innovations to come."

To help federal program managers, the report profiles seven digital agency projects that demonstrate creative ways they are using social media that might offer lessons that can be adopted and used by other agencies. In these case studies, successful federal program managers have engaged "communities of interest" by leveraging Facebook, Twitter, wikis, and smartphone apps, according to the report.

The seven agency success stories highlighted in the report include:  State Department's English-language app; Energy Department's Powerpedia site; Federal Emergency Management Agency's social media initiative in Alabama; Air Force Medical Service's use of Facebook; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network; National Archives and Records Administration's use of Wikipedia; and National Aeronautics and Space Administration's International Space App Challenge.

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-read the report

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