Researching social media use by other police departments – but don’t have the time to troll through the Twitter lists or Facebook pages? Check out Gov2Social, the new service from Microsoft’s Bright Side of Government. As Bright Side’s Kristin Bockius writes:
First, Gov2Social is a social media directory for state and local governments. Why is this important? I’ve mentioned a couple of scenarios above but more importantly we’re seeing a growing level of interest and adoption among state and local governments of Web 2.0 tools that support open and transparent government initiatives. However, we found a significant gap in how state and local governments and their citizens could connect online in a one-stop shop manner. With Gov2Social, state and local governments can share best practices, connect with peers, and learn how to implement social networking services – all of which help advance the usage of Gov 2.0 tools.
Gov2Social is not a complicated site, not by any stretch. The interface is clean and simple and uncluttered, as any directory should be; you can run a keyword search like “police,” or a name search like “California.” So how would a law enforcement user put it to work?
First, become a part of it. Several law enforcement agencies have already inputted their information. The more agencies are listed here, the more valuable the site will be to others researching law enforcement social media implementation – especially the more tools are listed.
Second, however, use it to connect with local and state politicians. Generally, I’m not a great fan of how politicians use social media; they tend to broadcast, and the information they put out is dry. (You’re at another fundraising event? Glad to hear…) It doesn’t make one want to try to engage.
I see Gov2Social as the beginnings of a challenge to that. By making it easier to find elected officials – who wants to spend time guessing Twitter usernames? – the site will make it easier for us to talk to them. How does that affect law enforcement?
- It could connect directly with key politicians and other government agencies, such as emergency management. Even agencies that don’t want to follow individuals on Twitter can make use of a network of government accounts.
- It could encourage its publics to connect with local politicians regarding public safety issues. Use Gov2Social to find the appropriate channels, then write a blog post or reference @username in a tweet.
- Take the above idea to the next level and design an entire strategy to get a problem solved, especially if it’s something that requires more funding than is budgeted. Being a squeaky wheel, and getting your publics behind you in the social spaces (think YouTube videos, Flickr photos, blogs, and other forms of crowdsourcing), might just do the trick.
Gov2Social just launched, so you won’t find the numbers of government officials and agencies there – yet – to put the above ideas in motion. But do submit a listing, do bookmark it, and do talk about it so it has the chance to grow to its potential.