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Florida Employee Makes Toolkit for Guidance on Web 2.0

Florida IT employee creates online toolkit on Web 2.0, hoping to reduce calls from state and local agencies that are inquiring about how to work with social media.

Photo: April Edmonds, Web technology analyst, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission/Photo courtesy of Florida

You might think that because state and local governments have experimented for years with social media, most agencies would know at least the basics of how to use them. That's not the case, according to April Edmonds, a Web technology analyst for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. She said she's routinely tied up on the phone with state and local officials within Florida who are asking basic questions about how to get started.

To reduce the call stream, Edmonds created an iToolkit for guiding agencies through the process. FLSocMedia addresses common legal and public records concerns about social networking. It offers step-by-step instructions on how agencies should build Facebook and Twitter pages, and gives pointers on posting videos to social networking sites. One link describes "Lessons Learned," while another gives the ins-and-outs of establishing RSS feeds.

Much of the data would apply to any state, so Edmonds said other states are welcome to use any of it for their own toolkits. "I've been continually updating the site since I set it up and want other governments to contribute," Edmonds said.

Believe it or not, many government IT officials could stand to learn some basic information from the site. Edmonds said she recently attended a digital summit where she was struck by the attendees' unfamiliarity with the basic terminology of Twitter.

"I mentioned 'hashtag' and there were no takers on what that meant. I was the only one tweeting," Edmonds said.


Andy Opsahl is a former staff writer and features editor for Government Technology magazine.