The Postal Service could better engage customers by utilizing blogs and other social media and analyzing customer comments, an Aug. 1 USPS inspector general report (.pdf) says. The Postal Service's social media presence includes 18 social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Beyond simply broadcasting information or promoting their mission, agencies can use social media for situational awareness and for mission operations, but there are privacy issues agencies must consider, says the Federal Chief Information Officers Council.
In the same way two people would have a conversation, social media requires listening and responding in turn, said Shayne Adamski, senior manager of digital engagement at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
A State Department bureau spent about $630,000 in 2011 and 2012 mostly on Facebook advertising to increase international fans of its four English language social website pages (for example) to dubious effect. "A sampling of IIP's Facebook sites raises questions about how much real interaction is taking place," says the State office of inspector general.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act makes clear that federal websites are to be coded for accessibility by people with disabilities. But when it comes to social media, "there are many misconceptions," says Mario Damiani, policy advisor at the Labor Department's office of disability employment policy.
Social media content is "likely" a record potentially subject to retention requirements, says the National Archives and Records Administration in a draft bulletin to federal agencies--language that would strength the terms NARA previously used in guidance on social media archiving. In it's last bulletin on the subject, NARA asked agencies to consider that some social content could be a record.
Governments have been known to rely on mobile and social data in disaster response, but new research highlights the inaccuracy of Twitter location data. "Content passed through Twitter remains decontextualized unless we find ways to reattach it to geography," write researchers from Oxford University's Oxford Internet Institute.
"Just by saying that you have a certain number of followers doesn't necessarily answer the question of how many people are engaging with your information or seeing your information," said Jessica Orquina, social media lead at the Environmental Protection Agency.
A Canadian academic is lamenting his country's lack of social presence in diplomacy, arguing in a paper that lack of Canadian diplomatic presence on social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter will condemn the country to "progressively fade in international affairs."
Twenty-five people have been arrested by Turkish police for "spreading untrue information" through Twitter. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called Twitter "a menace."