Welcome to the Social Media in the Government!

What is Social Media in the Government?

This is a semester-long course on the uses of social media in the government. This course will function as a Community of Practice; in teams you will collaborate and work together to contribute to a deeper understanding of how to use social media tools in your respective places of employment. Your contributions are highly encouraged in this environment, and you and your team will be building and contributing to wiki pages at this site in order to complete assignments throughout the semester. After completing the course, you will then have access to this wiki site so that you and your colleagues can continue to discuss, collaborate, and share new insights as you begin to use social media tools on the job.

Why now?

As Web 2.0 technologies gain in popularity for social networking and personal communication, more and more people are jumping on the technology bandwagon, so to speak. The U.S. government is no exception. Probably the most high-profile example of how the government has embraced technology was Barack Obama's 2008 Presidential campaign. He kept supporters and potential voters informed about his campaign efforts through Facebook, Twitter, and a variety of other social networking sites that we'll discuss in this course. In addition, he promised a more transparent federal government if elected. In keeping with that promise, the federal government will soon be a household name on sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Flickr.[1] Government officials know that the World Wide Web, and social networking sites in particular, are where people go to get news and information, and that's where they plan to be in the upcoming months and years. Because of this, it's important for you, as a government employee, to know how these tools operate and how you can use them in your workplace.

Who should take this course?

Participants in this course come from a variety of federal and local U.S. Government agencies. Because the class is composed of students from a variety of agencies, each of you will approach this course, and the implementation of social media tools in your workplace, from different viewpoints. You will bring multiple perspectives to your team projects and address epistemic issues unique to your organization. Lastly, you should take this course if you work for a government agency and are just plain curious about social media and looking to keep up with the latest technologies.

How is the course organized?

The course is organized into 3 main modules, listed below. During the first month of the course we'll learn about Creative Media. This module has been developed for you and can serve as a model for your team as you work to build the Collaborative Media and Social Interaction Media modules as the course progresses.

Creative Media

In this module we'll learn about the following topics:
  • Flickr

  • YouTube

  • Podcasts

Collaborative Media (coming soon)

In this module we'll learn about the following topics:
  • BLOGs

  • Wikis

Social Interaction Media (coming soon)

In this module we'll learn about the following topics:
  • LinkedIn

  • Twitter

  • Facebook

When can I get started?

There's no time like the present! Check out the course syllabus and map on the Navigating the Course page, and find out how to edit this wiki.

  1. ^ Choney, S. (2009). Federal government: Star of YouTube, Flickr? msnbc.com. Retrieved from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29882992/.