The “Getting Started with Government 2.0” Guide

In the last few months, I’ve received an increasing number of “hey Steve, how would you recommend someone get started in social media or Government 2.0?” emails, and I’ve gotten tired of sending out the same emails time and time again. I’ve been meaning to write a post like this for a while, but even I was little overwhelmed at the resources available! So, here’s my attempt at creating a post (with comments) that will hopefully become a helpful resource for those interested in learning more about social media and the Government.

*I realize that there will be GREAT resources out there that I miss in this post – PLEASE add them below as a comment so that others may benefit!!!

The Fundamentals

  1. Government 2.0 is about more than just social media. I define it as “the strategic use of technology to transform our government into a platform that is participatory, collaborative, and transparent” but that’s just one definition – there are a LOT more.  However, to make this post manageable for you guys, I’ll be focusing primarily on the social media and communications side of Government 2.0 here.
  2. Read the Twenty Theses for Government 2.0 – if you’re interested in this world, read these basic tenets of how social media and the government works
  3. You’re not going to learn this stuff via books and blogs alone – you’re going to have to get your hands dirty and actually use these tools to interact with the people you’re trying to reach.
  4. Don’t apply mass media (press releases, TV, radio, etc.) rules and processes to this. Good fundamentals in interpersonal communication will serve you well.  There are no audiences or eyeballs any more – you’re going to be dealing with real people here.

    Gov 2.0 milestones from 2009

  5. Getting “good” at this is going to take time. I can’t give you a checklist of things to do and magically, you’re going to be good at it when you’re done. While I wish it were that easy, just keeping up with all of the changes that are taking place in the government is hard enough. The environment has changed so much even in the last year. That’s why all these steps will get only get you started – it will be up to you to keep the progress up!

The Starter Videos

Baby Steps

  • Do a Google search on your name. Find out what’s available online about you already – this is your first impression to most people.  Do you have a popular name and the results are flooded with data that’s not about you? Doesn’t matter – I don’t know that that’s not you.  You NEED to be aware of what’s out there about you and what can be associated with you.
  • Set up a Google Alert for your name/organization so that you’re notified whenever someone writes a blog post, news article, etc. about you or your organization.
  • Read Chris Brogan’s “If I Started Today” and his “Social Media Starter Pack” posts
  • Do some internal research.  Search your organization’s Intranet to see who in your organization is already doing something with social media or Government 2.0.  Find out who the experts are within and introduce yourself to them.  Have a meeting with them and find out what they recommend/where you might be able to help. I know this is all new to you, but chances are, someone has already started doing something with social media internally.
  • Do some external research.  Google your organization’s name and “social media” or “Government 2.0” or “open government.”  Find out what, if anything, is being said externally.  Maybe you’ll find out additional names of people you can reach out to or maybe you’ll find nothing – either way, it’s better to have done your research first.
  • Find your organization’s social media policy/guidelines and memorize them. Print them out and stick them to your wall.  If your organization doesn’t have any social media guidelines, find your external communications policy and see if it’s covered in there. If not, then go and talk with your public affairs/external communications team and have a conversation about this.

Setting the Stage

The government – federal, state, and local – isn’t some late adopter in social media. In many cases, they’re leading the way. Before you start thinking that just because you work in an office that still only has Internet Explorer 6, and any social media knowledge is just going to blow everyone away, take a look through some of these influential  documents on what the government is doing in this area.

Books

If you’re a book reader, go out and get the following:

Daily Reading

Become Part of the Online Community

  • Get on LinkedIn. Here’s a good primer on how to get started there. LinkedIn is the most popular business-oriented social networking site there is. It’s low risk, and it will give you a starting point for your online activities.
  • Join GovLoop, the “Facebook for Government” with more than 25,000 members, and read through their Getting Started Guide. Try to visit at least once a day.

    Join GovLoop if you haven't already

  • Join Twitter (watch Twitter in Plain English). No, it’s not just a site where you’re going to hear what people ate for lunch. This is where you’re going to get a chance to meet and interact with some of the top social media and Gov 2.0 minds in real-time.  Once you create your account, start by following these people/lists:

Protecting Your Privacy

  • As you’re signing up for these social networking services, and you start “getting out there,” don’t forget that there are privacy implications to everything you post online. While the following resources will help educate you on the privacy policies and best practices of social media, I always tell people not to post anything online that you wouldn’t want your boss/mom seeing. I don’t care what check boxes you select or what privacy setting you use – if it’s online, consider it public.  Facebook doesn’t have a setting to prevent “right click, save as” or from hitting the PrintScreen button and grabbing a screenshot. 

Newsletters

  • Subscribe to the Daily Scoop from FedScoop
  • Subscribe to the SmartBrief on Social Media – fantastic daily email newsletter on the top social media stories of the day (disclosure: I’m on their Advisory Board)
  • Subscribe to KD Paine’s Measurement Standard newsletter for the latest news, tips, and strategies for measuring and evaluating social media
  • If you’re a member of GovLoop, you’ll also receive the GovLoop Weekly, a newsletter highlighting the best of GovLoop each week

Bookmark These Government 2.0 Resources

Social Media is About Connecting Offline Too

Becoming comfortable and effective with social media doesn’t mean just mean sitting in front of your computer either.

GovLoop profiles a new member every week, and GovFresh has highlighted several members of the Gov 2.0 community as Gov 2.0 heroes. If you get a chance, introduce yourself to these people as I can virtually guarantee you that someone has already experienced whatever challenge you’re facing and can probably help you overcome it.

Congratulations if you made it this far!  At this point, you will be pretty overwhelmed – that’s ok!  Back when I got started with social media at my company, it took me around six months to go from “hmmm, this is interesting” to “let’s actually do something with this as an organization!” Spend some time reading, learning, playing, meeting, and talking with people until you are comfortable with the concepts and tools of social media and the government.

The Sunlight Foundation's interpretation of a logo for open government

Taking a Strategic View

Once you’re comfortable with the principles and tools of social media, now you can start applying them to your organization. Start by reviewing this handy social media strategy worksheet from AIDS.gov, as well as this super list of social media case studies from organizations around the world. From the public sector, check out all of the case studies that were highlighted at last year’s Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase and this year’s Gov 2.0 Expo.

Your next step will likely be step 3 in my “Bringing Social Media to Your Organization Playbook.”  By this point, you should be pretty saturated in the world of social media, (and have hopefully dropped me a tweet or two), so I’ll end this massive post here as you should be well on your way to adding yourself to my lists of resources above.  Just keep in mind that you may soon find yourself following the evolution of the social media evangelist – be aware of the stages that you may very well find yourself in, and start identifying ways to mitigate the challenges that they may present.

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About sradick

I'm Vice President, Director of Public Relations at Brunner in Pittsburgh. Find out more about me here (http://steveradick.com/about/).

View all posts by sradick

92 Responses to “The “Getting Started with Government 2.0” Guide”

  1. Chad Bockius Says:

    Great resource – thanks for pulling this together. One other thing you may want to add are resources for ensuring compliance and automating social media policies. Here is one solution for archiving and searching posts (http://bit.ly/dlbUAV) made to the social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) and here is one for defining and automating your social media policy (http://bit.ly/ceEUsq).

    Hope this helps.

  2. Chad Bockius Says:

    Great resource – thanks for pulling this together. One other thing you may want to add are resources for ensuring compliance and automating social media policies. Here is one solution for archiving and searching posts (http://bit.ly/dlbUAV) made to the social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) and here is one for defining and automating your social media policy (http://bit.ly/ceEUsq).

    Hope this helps.

  3. Adriel Hampton Says:

    I loved reading this post. 🙂

  4. Adriel Hampton Says:

    I loved reading this post. 🙂

  5. cjmcclure (Cleon McClure) Says:

    Twitter Comment


    The “Getting Started with Government 2.0” Guide | Social Media Strategery [link to post] Collaborative Govt , I like this

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  6. evansschool (UW Evans School) Says:

    Twitter Comment


    #gov20: just getting started? Check out Guide to Getting Started with Social Media & Government [link to post] RT @dotgovcom & @sradick

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  7. brycej (Bryce Johnson) Says:

    Twitter Comment


    Just getting started with #gov20? Check out – Getting Started with Social Media & Government ([link to post]) /via @sradick @dotgovcom

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  8. Paul F. Bove Says:

    Solid reading and great primer, Steve. (Had to wait to read this at home, but like I told you, the DoD is on to you 😉 We get these questions frequently at USAF, so I may just start sending your link to people. With full credit of course!

  9. dominiccampbell Says:

    Hi Steve

    Really excellent collection of resources – thanks so much for sharing.

    OK so now for some self-promotion – but only in the hope of being helpful you understand!!

    You might like to point people to a couple of things we've been involved in:

    http://21st.cc/socialmedia – guide for local politicians, but very transferable
    http://futuregovconsultancy.com – email or rss sign up to our daily links that we collect from what's new on the web
    http://www.tweetyhall.co.uk/blog – interviews and examples of how politicians are using social media (twitter in particular) at a local level in the Uk

    There's more but that'll do for now!

    Cheers

    Dom

  10. Sradick Says:

    Some good resources there Dominic – I didn't mean to exclude our #gov20 friends on the other side of the pond, so I'm glad that you've added in these resources too. I wonder if Kate Lundy and the Australian should also have some resources listed above as well?

  11. Shim Marom Says:

    Great article mate, many thanks for pulling this together for us.

    Cheers, Shim.

  12. Sradick Says:

    Thanks Shim – glad you found it useful! Pass it on to others too!

  13. pablarradar (Pablarribas Radar) Says:

    Twitter Comment


    dlcsnet [from kgillgren] The “Getting Started with Government 2.0” Guide: [link to post]

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  14. bhaven (Barbara Z. Haven) Says:

    Twitter Comment


    RT @NLoverheid20: The “Getting Started with Government 2.0” Guide | Social Media Strategery: [link to post] < =read later! – Posted using Chat Catcher

  15. aprilteybrown (April Tey Brown) Says:

    Twitter Comment


    RT @sradick: The Guide to Getting Started with Social Media and Government ([link to post]) #opengov #gov20

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  16. sradick (Steve Radick) Says:

    Twitter Comment


    Have people at your agency interested in #gov20 but don’t know where to start? Try this handy Gov 2.0 Starter Guide ([link to post])

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  17. sradick (Steve Radick) Says:

    Twitter Comment


    The Guide to Getting Started with Social Media and Government ([link to post]) #opengov #gov20

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  18. josiefraser (Josie Fraser) Says:

    Twitter Comment


    RT @socialfeds: #gov20 The “Getting Started with Government 2.0” Guide | Social Media Strategery [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  19. harmlesskitty (Tanya Watkins) Says:

    Twitter Comment


    Lists some very useful resources here RT @socialfeds: #gov20 The “Getting Started with Government 2.0” Guide [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  20. localpolitechs (Local Politechs) Says:

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    RT @lovisatalk: Great resource! RT @sradick: The Guide to Getting Started with Social Media and Gov ([link to post]) #opengov #gov20

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  21. socialfeds (Sara Cope) Says:

    Twitter Comment


    #gov20 The “Getting Started with Government 2.0” Guide | Social Media Strategery [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  22. lovisatalk (lovisa) Says:

    Twitter Comment


    Great resource! I get same ? RT @sradick: The Guide to Getting Started with Social Media and Government ([link to post]) #opengov #gov20

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  23. TedNguyen (Ted Nguyen) Says:

    Twitter Comment


    RT @RasoirJ: RT @lovisatalk Great resource! @sradick: Guide to Getting Started with Social Media & Govt [link to post] #gov20

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  24. RasoirJ (George Clack) Says:

    Twitter Comment


    RT @lovisatalk Great resource! @sradick: The Guide to Getting Started with Social Media and Government ([link to post]) #gov20

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  25. VideoMinutes Says:

    Steve, thanks for putting this together. I've also been building a Twitter List for OpenGov … http://twitter.com/VideoMinutes/open-gov

    I would also recommend that people tag their Tweets about Gov 2.0 with #gov20 and/or #opengov. It might also be profitable to periodically check the updates from these tags.

  26. Steve Radick Says:

    Doh!! How'd I forget the two hashtags??? Great add! I'm going to go and update the post to add those in there

  27. Steve Radick Says:

    Doh!! How'd I forget the two hashtags??? Great add! I'm going to go and update the post to add those in there

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