How many states' motor vehicle departments have a Facebook page or a Twitter account? In order to find out, you might have to browse a search engine and visit the DMV websites one by one.

But someday soon, that answer could be only one click away on a new website launched by Microsoft State & Local Government (SLG) that aims to aggregate and make searchable the social media platforms and projects coming from state and local governments.

Announced and launched Tuesday, April 27, the Gov2Social website built on Windows Azure has a map where users can search state-by-state for the social media platforms of elected officials, state government agencies, cities, towns and counties.

Microsoft is counting on users to input their government's social media usage on the website in order to populate it. It's been seeded with as many as 500 pieces of information and is now open for visitors to add more or edit existing entries.

Kristin Bockius, social media marketing manager for Microsoft SLG, said the company believes the website will fill a niche for those who are seeking a directory of social media activity in the state and local government. "We really want to use this site to show how many SLG agencies as well as individuals are using social to reach out to citizens," she told Government Technology on Tuesday.

When the website is populated with enough data, it will be possible to analyze what the top 10 states and cities are for social media, and so forth, Bockius said, "so you can start to figure out what sort of agencies it does and doesn't work for as well as who's the best at it."

In future weeks, the website will add podcasts, analytics, examples of highlighted case studies and best practices, Bockius added. The company may also add data on social media usage to the website for the federal government and worldwide governments.

And to be included on the site, a government doesn't have to be a Microsoft customer. "It doesn't matter what tools they're using," she said. "We're just trying to get the word out and trying to get people to use the social media and highlight some of these cool ways they're doing it."

 

Matt Williams  |  Associate Editor