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Social Media in the Public Sector Field Guide: Designing and Implementing Strategies and Policies

ISBN: 978-1-118-10993-9
224 pages
November 2012, Jossey-Bass
Social Media in the Public Sector Field Guide: Designing and Implementing Strategies and Policies (1118109937) cover image

Stocked with real-life examples and case studies, this book explores myriad social media tools and provides step-by-step guidance on how to implement them based on mission, goals, and strategy. Written in a jargon-free and accessible style, the book is a go-to resource for anyone in government who wants to put the power of social media to work for their organization.

Praise for Social Media in the Public Sector Field Guide

"Twitter and Facebook and Blogs, Oh My! In this bewildering new field of social media, Mergel and Greeves expertly provide practical advice for governments to harness the power of these new online services."

—Bill Schrier, deputy director, Center for Digital Government, eRepublic.com; former CTO (CIO), City of Seattle

"This is simply a must-read book for anyone interested in or involved with social media in the public sector. The authors take a refreshing and original approach supported by excellent examples regarding the evolving role social media is playing and can play in government. I cannot think of two better experienced authors to help guide us through the new realities of social media in government."

—Dr. Alan R. Shark, executive director, Public Technology Institute; assistant professor, Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration

"In the local government sector there seem to be three schools of thought regarding social media: I've got a Facebook page—let's jump right in!, Not happening on my watch!, and Who cares? This field guide is perfect for any of the above, as it provides practical applications and rationale for why local government needs to connect with people where they are—which is on the Internet. Our association of nearly 500 innovative local governments knows that Mergel and Greeves are the perfect authors for this must-have tutorial."

—Karen Thoreson, president and chief operating officer, Alliance for Innovation

"Every day on GovLoop.com, our network of 60,000 government leaders share best practices and ask questions about using social media in government. I've often been asked by members for a good reference to help them get going on their federal, state, or local government social media programs. I never had an answer—now I do: This field guide is the go-to resource to ensure your social media programs deliver real mission results. Mergel and Greeves are experts in the field—a blend of research and real-world experience to get you to where you need to go."

—Steve Ressler, founder and president, GovLoop.com

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Figures and Tables xi

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xvii

The Authors xix

PART ONE How Did We Get Here? 1

ONE What Are Social Media, and Why Should Government Pay Attention to Them? 3

TWO Social Media Versus Traditional Media 7

THREE Transformative Properties 13

FOUR The Social Media Ecosystem in the Public Sector 17

FIVE Social Media in Action 23

SIX What’s Driving Social Media Adoption—and Why Is All This Happening Now? 31

PART TWO The Tools: Where Do I Start? 35

SEVEN Social Networking Services 37

EIGHT Blogs 49

NINE Microblogging 59

TEN Wikis 71

ELEVEN Choosing the Tool That’s Right for You 83

PART THREE Policy and Implementation 93

TWELVE Social Media Strategy 95

THIRTEEN Social Media Tactics 103

FOURTEEN Key Elements of a Social Media Policy 109

FIFTEEN Employee Social Media Use: Personal Versus Professional 129

SIXTEEN Implementation 141

PART FOUR Where Do We Go from Here? 147

SEVENTEEN The Future of Social Media in the Public Sector 149

Conclusion 165

Glossary 169

Additional Resources 175

Notes 179

Index 191

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Ines Mergel is assistant professor of public administration at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University.

Bill Greeves is the chief information officer for Wake County, North Carolina and has over 12 years of experience in government technology leadership.

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November 29, 2012
Social Media in the Public Sector Field Guide: Designing and Implementing Strategies and Policies

Driven by the federally mandated Open Government Directive, public managers are launching new media initiatives with little guidance.  As a result, many public managers are reinventing the wheel – with a high degree of frustration over the lack of comprehensive guidance.

Thought-leading Government 2.0 experts Ines Megel and Bill Greeves give public administrators and MPA students a real-world, ready-to-use guide to creating and implementing policies and strategies for the use of new media applications in government. Their new book, Social Media in the Public Sector Field Guide: Designing and Implementing Strategies and Policies (Jossey-Bass; 978-1-118-10993-9; November 2012) is a hands-on practical guide that can be read cover-to-cover and/or used as a ready reference to help readers move smoothly through the development and deployment of effective new media strategies and policies in their own organizations.

Social Media in the Public Sector Field Guide includes detailed examples with screenshots, diagrams and graphics. This book is engaging and accessible with minimal technical jargon, acronyms or “govspeak”.  Chapters include case studies in the words of those who have implemented new media strategies. The field guide also includes an accompanying community-driven website with links to the authors’ two heavily-visited blogs and practitioner social networks such as Govloop.org, Muni2.0.org, etc.

Authors Ines Mergel and Bill Greeves are long-time social media practitioners with strong career ties to the public sector. Ines Mergel is assistant professor of public administration at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University. Bill Greeves is the chief information officer for Wake County, North Carolina and has over 12 years of experience in government technology leadership.

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