Dashboard Shows California's Huge Social Media Footprint

Online dashboard tracks hundreds of accounts, thousands of tweets and shows millions of Facebook likes.

by / June 26, 2014

California’s Social Media Dashboard reveals a substantial online presence. Visitors can see that the state has 430 social media accounts and 38 million combined Facebook likes, Twitter followers and YouTube views. Users can see the state’s most popular YouTube channels -- the most popular belonging to the Department of Motor Vehicles -- and Twitter accounts.

Drawing on Google Analytics APIs, the dashboard provides data that gives the public a broad view of the state’s social media footprint. The dashboard provides transparency and informs decision-making, explained Michael Chen, Web policy coordinator for the state Department of Technology.

“The availability of such data transforms speculative stakeholder discussions into informed stakeholder discussions,” Chen wrote in an email to Government Technology. “For example, this data can enable decision-makers to see the growth in the use of mobile apps, which affects decisions on deploying new technologies to service customers.”

State CIO Carlos Ramos uses data from the dashboard in his presentations, Chen said. After California launched its dashboard in May 2012, the federal government emulated the effort in its own social media monitoring as a part of its digital government milestones.

Entering the data is done monthly and generally takes a few hours, Chen said. “Some of the stats come from a single Google Analytics dashboard that all state agencies feed their data into while others are counted and entered manually,” he said. “The monthly updates themselves including number tallying, verification, basic graphical updates, approval processes, testing and uploads.”

Participation by state agencies is optional, but participation is good and continues to grow, said Chen, adding that several agencies have mentioned that the data is useful.

Browsing the website shows that Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has the most popular Twitter account in California state government, with 1.23 million followers. In a recent tweet, Newsom advocated for innovation in local transportation.

The dashboard also reveals recent activity, showing numbers for how many tweets and YouTube views the state received within the past month. As of this article’s publication, the state issued more than 2,300 tweets and received more than 37,800 followers in one month. On YouTube, the state received about 151,000 video views and 828 subscribers in one month.

Colin Wood former staff writer

Colin wrote for Government Technology from 2010 through most of 2016.

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