As a former government contractor and public servant, I am interesting in exploring how government agencies are using Twitter. My quick profiles come from a variety of countries and levels of government looking for patterns. Social media tools offer government the opportunity to bypass traditional media filters and reveal themselves as more than a closed door. Are agencies telling their stories, carrying on conversations, answering questions of their constituents, improving Joe Public’s perceptions?
Methodology for choice
I knew of a few, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) whose blog I had conversed through last fall; the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who have another blog I’d read (in addition to applying for an internship with). As a former Port of Seattle employee, I wondered if Ports were getting involved in Twitter. I found Ports at San Diego, Pittsburgh, Austen, Long Beach and our own Camas, Washington had jumped on board but were mostly RSS feeds. For contrast I decided to scout outside the United States. I found most my Tweeters by looking at follower/following for peers.
- Education with links back to site or news stories
- Improving public perceptions with community through conversation, one-to-one aid, crowd sourcing solutions.
- Localized feel: Making the government seem smaller and friendlier
Objective counting of 100 tweet sampling will be analyzed to determine degree of interactiveness with community by counting @replies, RT (re-tweets) of stories by others, # hashtags showing awareness of community interests and use of favorites.