The event – Transitioning from “Social Media” to “Mission Media”: Using Social Media to Achieve DoD Missions – included a great keynote by Maxine Teller (@mixtmedia) and informative panel including our own Rob Pinkerton and:
Dana Clark (@PAODanaClark), social media manager, public affairs specialist, Army Corps of Engineers
Dr. Joseph Boutte, strategic advisor, Strategies, New Media and Collaboration, TASC Inc.
Dan Wade, social media and new technology chief for strategic communication, USSOCOM
Christopher Zember, deputy director, Information Analysis Centers, OASD(R&E), DTIC
Bill Annibell @billannibell), chief technology officer, Sapient Government Services (Moderator)
We had a chance to catch some time on camera with Maxine, Dana and Rob to capture their thoughts on the topics of discussion and the event. Check it out:
I’ve been writing a lot about social media these days if you haven’t noticed.
It isn’t because I’m fascinated with the actual tools, many of them will have disappeared in the next couple of years. Rather, it is one of the most poignant examples of the incredible participation rates that great user design can induce. The possibilities of how this can transform government and key public issues have me mesmerized.
A couple of weeks ago, I presented at a seminar on the topic of “Transforming Citizen Interactions with Lessons from Social Media”.
If you weren’t able to make it out, have no fear, you can watch the video above and download a copy of the presentation here.
This particular version of the presentation has some innovative examples from US agencies. I have another version of this presentation with more international examples which I will also share in another post.
P.S. Thanks Heather for holding the video camera for the entire time.
As much as the social media is exciting on the technology front, I think the real impact it has is shifting the way we all think about technology from green screens to an enabler of the interactions we have with family, friends, co-workers and customers. Social media has shown that technology can be the foundation of friendly and easy-to-use applications that allows us to share ideas and information beyond the limitations of time and geographic locations.
The most important point I was trying to raise in this discussion is that although the new social media tools are very exciting, the real opportunity for government agencies is to take the lessons learned from social media and apply them to the core processes in government.
What does it matter if an agency has a Twitter account or a Facebook fan page if it is still hard for its citizens to find critical programs and enroll in them? How do we make enrolling in benefits as easy as it is these days to create and share a video on YouTube?
A case in point is a recent 60 Minutes profile of Veterans Affairs. According to the investigation, the form for applying for benefits is 23 pages long, on average 6 months to get an initial response, and the amount of paperwork generated in a case can span from one to several file-size boxes. How can lessons in social media help to transform this? I would imagine a veteran would hardly care about the VA having a Facebook fan page. Rather, they would want to see easier ways to interact with the VA that was directed to helping them receive eligible benefits faster.
In my next post, I’ll discuss some of the specific issues highlighted in the 60 Minutes coverage of the benefits backlog at Veteran Affairs. I’ll provide my perspective on how some of these issues may be improved with the pragmatic application of technology and the belief that our veterans deserve better.