June 19, 2013 By Kristy Fifelski
Many agencies are already using platforms like Facebook and Twitter and they’re looking for other tools to reach citizens. Have you wondered how Instagram can fit into your social strategy?
Instagram is a free iPhone and Android photo-sharing app where users can take and upload photos from their mobile phone. The platform has been around for nearly three years, and last year Facebook acquired it for $1 billion.
I’m doing a lot of traveling for events this year, so I finally set up a GovGirlBlog profile on Instagram to easily capture and share some of these experiences. Your agency can find other ways to use the simple app, such as snapshots of public parks and buildings, neighborhood events and meetings – you name it.
Many governments are already using Instagram and taking advantage of the crop and filter tools available in the app. Check out the profiles of Detroit and Morgantown, W.Va., for some surprisingly breathtaking shots. Arkansas State Parks is using another approach of pulling in a feed on its website of citizen pics tagged with #arstateparks.
Instagram has a cool Twitteresque feature I love where you can tag and search for hashtags. I did a search for #govgirl and found photos that people have taken with me at events. Are you or your agency already being tagged on Instagram? Do a quick search and find out!
Unlike some mobile apps like Vine, Instagram also stores your content on the Web. Visit my brand-spanking-new GovGirl page on Instagram. There are limited opportunities for branding on the platform, with just a standard profile picture, short bio and website link.
Instagram integrates with other social networks, making it easy to push images automatically to your existing government profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare and even good ole-fashioned Flickr. To enable this feature, find the settings under Profile > Options > Share Settings. Make sure it’s connecting to your official accounts and not defaulting to your personal networks that you may already be logged in to!
I have to note that in late 2012, after user backlash that new terms of service language gave Instagram the ability to sell users’ photos or use them in ads, today’s revised terms of service indicate that Instagram does not own your photos. (Still, the language isn’t crystal clear and you should run it by your legal team as usual).
Instagram is a quick, free way to enhance your social media presence with visual content. Let me know in the comments about your experiences on this platform, or tell me about any reservations your agency has in creating a profile.
June 12, 2013 By Kristy Fifelski
I recorded a podcast about public safety and social media with Mark "Fletch" Fletcher, host of the popular E911 podcast on the Avaya Podcast Network. Fletch says our podcast is already one of the most popular downloads for the year, and it was just published Monday!
We also did a quick iPhone video for GovGirl on how to make a podcast. Fletch is a fan of GovGirl outtakes, so he did something different and put a few of ours at the end of our podcast. Fletch notes that a podcast is simply an MP3 file hosted somewhere (he uses Cachefly) and made available to download or stream on a website. Take a look at his gear in the video.
Fletch advises that the most important part of a podcast and keeping an audience is having regular content. For him, this means recording a show every week. Does your agency do podcasts? What equipment do you use and has it been successful? Post a comment on my blog and share your experience!
June 10, 2013 By Kristy Fifelski
Wouldn’t it be cool to be remembered for doing great things? The Center for Digital Government just published a paper called The Legacy Play -- it's essentially a how-to guide for crafting your own legacy in the public sector.
The paper explores the role that the past, present and future play in building a great legacy. What I like about this paper is the interviews with top government IT leaders who tell you how they’ve done it. If you’ve done it right, the projects, systems -- even culture you’ve helped create – will benefit your government and citizens for a long time to come.
Download a free copy of The Legacy Play and post a comment on my blog at GovGirl.com to let me know your thoughts about forging a legacy.
June 5, 2013 By Kristy Fifelski
Many public libraries have struggled to stay modern and relevant in today's world, so this GovGirl video is a tribute to those who have done so!
Have you actually tried downloading a digital book? Get 'em now from your library and download them to your Kindle or iPad. Many librarians are reinventing their catalog in a digital way - on Pinterest. Follow your public library on Pinterest and find even more cute puppies to make you smile.
Some libraries have realized the allure of sipping a hot cup of coffee while reading an interesting book. Here are a few library/café combo examples:
Going a bit old school here, but libraries are still letting patrons check out artwork. This means you can redecorate your home or office every month if you want to, with some famous prints.
What other ways can you use your public libraries nowadays? The best conversation happens on my blog, so leave a comment!
May 22, 2013 By Kristy Fifelski
A new study on teenager use of social media suggests they’re not too concerned about who sees what they’re posting. In this report, the Pew Research Center notes that most teenagers feel comfortable adjusting privacy settings, but many of them still have completely public Facebook pages.
I wasn’t surprised that 91 percent of American teenagers post a photo of themselves on social networks, but a whopping 53 percent of them post their email address. Most concerning – 20 percent of teenagers post their cell phone number on their most frequent social network! That’s something I don’t even do.
These are important privacy issues for parents – but also for teachers and law enforcement agencies. What are your kids doing online?
Kristy is known as "GovGirl" in the government technology industry. She is a former city government web manager who has a passion for social media, technology and the lighter side of government life.
Catch weekly GovGirl videos here on GovTech and follow hashtag #GovGirl on Twitter for more conversation.
Signup for GovGirl's Weekly Video Email