Did you know that there are government agencies that use social media? Because of the popularity of sites like FaceBook and Twitter, and because of the number of users on social media sites, government agencies are logging on in order to communicate with the American people.
The White House
The Obama campaign wanted to have a more open policy with the American people and promised that government agencies will be more online than ever before. The White House's FaceBook page allows them to communicate to the fans of the president. Some of the things you can find on the profile page is updates on new bills, when videos are posted and new statements issued from the White House. There is also a Facebook application that allows you to watch live streams and lets you comment in real time on what is going on.
The White House is also on these social media websites:
- Flickr. You can view official photographs of Barack Obama (and sometimes Michelle Obama) going to events, creating diplomacy and having a little fun.
- Did you know that the White House sends out updates via Twitter? You can catch updates on just about anything related to the White House, including trips from diplomats and requests for feedback. Most of the tweets you get are for links to videos to watch or documents to read.
- Two video sites you can visit are Vimeo and Youtube. You can watched uploaded press releases and other in-house talks like chats with dignitaries.
Other Government Agencies That Use Social Media
With the new director of media in charge, Jack Holt of the Department of Defense had a YouTube channel created with the purpose of giving the American people a first-person view of action in Iraq. The war came closer to home for United States Internet users, which wasn't as possible as it was years ago when the war first started. The videos became popular and you can still see Department of Defense updates from generals and commanders.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA)
Care2 is an environmental social network that promotes healthy and green living. The NOAA wanted to ensure that the over 8 million users of Care2 were aware of deteriorations in certain parts of the world. This is still a new endeavor for this government agency, but it has great potential to promote awareness.
Since 2006, the United States State Department has been using Second Life to promote the government and White House activities. Since more and more people have access to the Internet, it is becoming increasingly easier to use worlds like Second Life to host speeches and other meetings. While there is not a Barack Obama avatar, you can participate in streaming speeches and other meetings while invited guests report on everything in real time in the virtual world.
If you visit the White House's main web site, you can subscribe to their blog, which is updated almost daily, sometimes more than once a day. This blog is also linked to other blogs on Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube.
On USA.gov you can listen to podcasts published by the U.S. government on a variety of topics like business, history, money, taxes and family. There are additional podcasts in Spanish.
Good or Bad?
Some people think government agencies that use social media is a good thing because the government is embracing that many people interact and communicate through the Internet. These agencies can quickly get information to the people and accept feedback just as fast. Others feel that the government is using social media to promote diplomacy.
On the other hand, some people think that the government isn't promoting effective communication by using social media. It's hard to efficiently filter through any comments or feedback given because there is just so much of it when it does happen.