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Takeaways from FEMA Social Media Conference May 2009

Page history last edited by Dannielle Blumenthal 11 years, 5 months ago
Key Takeaways from the FEMA Social Media Conference

May 11, 2009

  1. Why agencies need social media #1 - because we need to “take the information where the people are” online and not expect them to come to our website
  2. Why agencies need social media #2 – moving from a “need to know” culture to a “need to share” culture to get things done
  3. Constraints include IT and legal, but above all policy – if agency endorses it can deal with the IT and legal issues.  Agency communicators want blanket permission from the administration so that they can move forward without having to convince senior leadership each time.
  4. Bandwidth – increasing use of multimedia files – need to make sure we have enough capacity (note: cloud computing solves this problem)
  5. Security issues – of special concern where there is interactivity – possible approach – have a presence on social media sites but limiting or not allowing responses by the public
  6. Need an interdisciplinary (integrated project team) approach – public affairs, IT, legal, labor and employee relations, HR/human capital, working together
  7. Need a strategy, don’t just go out there to launch a tool
  8. Use a cross-promotional approach that drives user from one type of content to another– news releases, widgets, call center, etc. – don’t stovepipe it
  9. Listening is as important as talking – and when you hear a blogger talking about you, for example, reach out to them to try to get them to cover you
  10. Keep a one page list on hand of all the social media tools you have
  11. Track audience – where are they coming into your site – this will help you decide which tools to use and how
  12. Be inventive – e.g. e-cards on the flu viewed and sent – can track # of uses
  13. Seems that social media efforts begin with the recognition that there is a problem – as a response to a crisis – not proactively before something occurs
  14. Internal communications is a good place to start social media (e.g. Communities at State, a central blogging system) – safe place to experiment and acclimate people culturally
  15. Over and over again we hear that when people are given permission to participate in social media tools, they don’t abuse it
  16. Records management is an issue – need to examine this on the policy side – what is a record and how must it be preserved (but then again, do people even know what to do with their emails…and this doesn’t stop us from using email)
  17. Structured web governance is critical – FEMA is a good model, they benchmarked against EPA – there is no one right way, it has to match the culture
  18. Legal issues – examples – persistent cookies on the third party site, indemnification – but the government has negotiated terms of service agreement for a number of major providers, and there is always a way to deal with seeming obstacles if the policy is to move an initiative forward
  19. Length of time to get legal approval for things such as blog postings remains an issue – by the time the lawyers say OK, it’s sometimes too late – but their involvement/partnership is critical
  20. Interagency communication is critical – listservs are one way
  21. To build support for social media
    1. Initiate a long-term education campaign internally – get people used to the idea
    2. Produce short factsheets demonstrating the value of social media
    3. Build case studies showing how social media has been used effectively (even if they’re not perfect)
    4. Show subject matter experts that the technology will help their cause – don’t focus on the tool but the mission
    5. The leader of the agency has to demand it (chain of command) – and others will follow
  22. Employee conduct issues on social media
    1. Helpful to have a centralized policy or show employees the existing policies that cover this (e.g. ethics rules, code of conduct)
    2. Important to explain to employees clearly what is and isn’t appropriate
    3. Can focus on the positive uses of social media – “everyone’s a brand ambassador” – every is employee allowed to talk (blog) about what they do at the Coast Guard
    4. If employee posts something inappropriate, engage them nicely rather than approaching it in a harshly disciplinarian way
  23. Red Cross comment on contrasting attitudes toward social media – “crippling fear” vs. “shiny object syndrome”
  24. Transparency – need to show the process of what you’re doing with social media – if you make a mistake people will be more likely to forgive you
  25. Metrics are CRITICAL – must follow your progress and report out

Comments (1)

Fabiane said

at 4:48 pm on Jun 8, 2009

Hi Dannielle,

I am writing from Auckland, NZ as I would like to invite you to speak at an Internal Communications Conference I am organising. I would be more than happy to send you further details about the event. I would be very grateful if you could send me an email, so that I can send you details about this invitation.

Many thanks for your time, look forward to hearing from you.

Fabiane B Gay - fabiane@conferenz.co.nz

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