December 3, 2012 By News Staff
Local government officials in Washington, D.C., are listening to every tweet and comment their citizens make about them.
The government commissioned startup newBrandAnalytics to monitor Twitter, Facebook and the government's own websites to evaluate their performance based on public sentiment. Each month, agencies receive a report card with a letter grade based on social media feedback, The Wall Street Journal reported.
infographic via The Wall Street Journal
The District Department of Transportation started at an A- grade in August and dropped to a B+ in hoth September and October; the Department of Parks and Recreation went from a B+ in August to a B in September and October; and according to the site, the DCRA went from a B+ in August to a B- in September and back up to a B+ in October.
Majett's employees, he said, now treat the report card like a competition. Through the system's back-end, government agencies can view all the comments that went into forming their letter grade and comment on them. "Before the system launched, there was a lot of trepidation — folks were worried that all we're going to do is get smacked down," he said. "It turned out people were saying nice things, just no one ever noticed it."
And each agency, in response to customer feedback, makes changes. The DCRA, for instance, is using it to focus customer service issues and improve employee interaction with its customers, and increase website content and information, among other things.
As social media and data analytics increase in popularity in both private and public sectors, more governments could begin using similar social media monitoring services. The program cost D.C. $670,000 for two years, according to the Mayor's office. Since the website launched in June, newBrandAnalytics has processed more than 24,600 comments.
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