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Government goes social

Government Market Segment Manager, IBM

Social media has arguably become omnipresent in our lives. Connecting with friends or colleagues on a seemingly endless list of social media apps has become second nature to many people. Many businesses are also using social media to advertise, connect with customers and understand buying behavior. Social media has become a very valuable tool for the business world. You likely even found this blog on social media. IBM and Twitter recently forged a partnership to facilitate the use of Twitter data in helping its customers solve business problems.

Less understood is how extensively agencies at all levels of government are joining the party and using social media to help share information, conduct business, improve efficiency and connect with citizens. IBM recently conducted a survey of many government customers to understand where they are on their journeys to adopt social media and what kinds of applications they are using, planning or just thinking about. These agencies spanned the government spectrum: federal and central, state and provincial, civilian and military. The survey’s focus was primarily on the use of Twitter data and divided the respondent customers into three types:

  • Those who are exploring social media
  • Those who are engaged in a proof of concept for social media applications
  • Those who have implemented and are using social media

Plotting each of these types on a graph showed the sophistication of analysis and impact on the applications they were considering or using. In addition, the applications were divided into those that can help run the business of government and those that can truly transform the business function. These applications ranged from simple dissemination of information to the public and prioritizing services to gauging public sentiment for understanding concerns or evaluating program effectiveness and improving public safety (see figure).

Some of the conclusions that can be drawn from this information are that governments are routinely pushing information out to citizens, and they are experimenting with social listening and sentiment analysis. Public safety organizations such as police and emergency managers at the national, state and local levels are using social media to enhance public safety. Government agencies are also beginning to leverage social data to understand the effectiveness of their programs and officials.

The trends are clear. Government agencies are increasingly becoming social organizations.

Utilize Social Media to increase operational efficiency.