Social Media in Federal Government

How One Lion Became a Digital Display of Social Government in Action

While the story of Cecil the lion is tragic and controversial, this NPR article shows us how social media can quickly lead to public discourse and government action. The social media exposure surrounding the death of Cecil helped a public petition to extradite dentist Walter Palmer to Zimbabwe surpass 100,000 signatures. Additionally, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Twitter account took a stance, urging Palmer or his representatives to contact the organization to investigate the matter. According to a pinned tweet from USFWS from July 31, Palmer’s representatives reached out, and the investigation is ongoing. This shows how social tools can help government agencies inform and respond to public calls for action.

U.S. DOT Uses Twitter to Pressure Congress

The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) is taking to social media to rally support for increased infrastructure funding. This article reports that U.S. DOT is urging the public to highlight aging and failing infrastructure using the hashtag #ShowUsYourInfraWear. In doing so, the department hopes to create a public campaign strong enough to sway officials in Congress who may not be willing to increase infrastructure spending.

The Society of 140 Characters

Podcast: Two Great Minds Talk Twitter

Renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone recently discussed the origins and future of Twitter on Tyson’s Star Talk Radio podcast. They explored how socialmedia has changed how we gather and share information, as well as the role social platforms may or may not have played in major events such as the Arab Spring. It’s an enlightening discussion from unique perspectives sure to make your commute home a little more interesting.

Instagram: More than Food Photos & Selfies

Best Practices for Utilizing Instagram

Instagram in government may not be as common as Facebook or Twitter, but there are still many examples of social users in government effectively integrating the platform into their communication strategies. Enjoy the creativity and read up on Instagram best practices that showcase the importance of hashtagging, telling your story, and posting exciting photos.

How Ignorant Tweets Ruin Lives

The Ripple Effect of Offensive Tweets

Maybe you remember Justine Sacco, the woman who live Tweeted her trip to Africa via several insensitive tweets in 2013 and felt the full, public scorn of the  Internet. This New York Times article explores the consequences of — and reasons for — social media shaming, or how one misinterpreted or ill-thought-out post can cause you to lose your job and much, much more. The bottom line? Social media is very public information — be careful what you post.

Infographics vs. Text

Visual Content Drives Social Media

Infographics are popping up all over the Internet as they become easier to create and share. This article features an infographic about, well, infographics. It’s a quick read full of interesting facts about using data-filled images, and shows us just how important infographics and engaging images are for social media success. The infographic is also attached to this email should you want to print or save it.

Best Practice Tip of the Week

Accessible Writing for the Web

The CommonWiki features an incredible useful directory for creating accessible content, including a guide from 4 Syllables about accessible writing for the web. The 17-part series goes into everything from headings and images to reading level and hyperlinks. This guide is an intuitive primer for becoming aware of accessibility standards and how we can develop online content that anyone can navigate. It’s a simply “must know” if you are creating content for the web.

Webinar: Why Video Closed Captioning Matters

Tomorrow, August 6, this free webinar will discuss the basics of adding closed captions to online videos. The advantage of doing so is three-fold: Captions make videos more accessible, they make videos searchable, and they make content SEO-friendly.