This post was originally published on the USA.gov blog. After our content team moved to a more agile method of working, we also started to look at the metrics we use to measure the success of our work. To help us with that, our analytics team developed a new metric we’re experimenting with called the content efficiency metric. This metric is a key performance indicator (KPI) that we’re hoping can help guide our content decisions.
In March, the team of writers and editors at USAGov adopted some agile principles in an attempt to streamline our content development process. We hoped operating in a more agile manner would help us address some of the challenges we were facing as a team: Being asked to support many new projects Competing priorities Bottlenecks and silos It was a big change in the way we work. Our previous model had been based on a newsroom-style operation where people were clustered together around specific areas of content or “beats” to use the journalism terminology.
Yesterday, we shared our Snapchat account with the public. After weeks of testing the tool to iron out kinks and determine how we’d make content accessible, we were excited to go public when the official government-friendly terms of service were signed. So now you may be asking, why is the U.S. government using Snapchat and what will it be sharing? Here are our top three reasons for using Snapchat.
One of the biggest things we take into account whenever we consider launching on a new social platform is how we can make the information we share through that tool as accessible as possible. In its current form, Snapchat isn’t a highly accessible platform. This isn’t a problem that’s unique to Snapchat. Many emerging technologies are not up to government accessibility standards, which poses a challenge for the innovative agencies that want to adopt them.
The first phase of our partnership with Facebook included Facebook “megaphones” being rolled out in a handful of states with rapidly approaching voter registration deadlines. Facebook’s megaphone is a featured box that is displayed at the top of all user’s News Feeds. (You may recall seeing these after certain disasters giving users the option to quickly donate to Red Cross or other organizations). We piloted the voter registration megaphone in South Carolina on January 15.
Hispanics are one of fastest growing demographics in the U.S. But like any demographic, there are important nuances to consider when connecting with this audience. Insight into your audience’s motivations, behavior and preferences is key for anyone trying to engage with the public. We know every day that more and more Hispanics are on social media, but on which platforms?, Where are they participating? And more importantly, in what language?
Twenty years ago, the chances of watching an NBA game with commentary in a language other than English were small. Today, the NBA transmits games in 47 languages to 215 countries across the world. This is a perfect example of how organizations have evolved over time to meet the demands of their audiences. Evidence like this is the reason many government agencies have launched social media accounts and other digital content dedicated to a Spanish-speaking audience.
You might have noticed a lot of people were talking about the elections yesterday, especially on social media. Election and voting hashtags were trending all day long as people around the country hit the polls to vote for senators, representatives, governors and more. And while plenty of people were really excited to simply let their friends and followers know they had cast a ballot, several others had questions about how to find their polling place or the hours it was open.
Lots of people ask us questions. So it only makes sense for us to partner up to answer some of those questions. Since the 1970’s, USA.gov has partnered with Dear Abby to help get free printed government publications on a variety of topics (health, disaster preparedness, caring for aging loved ones, etc.) into the hands of the people who need them most. While much of the work at USA.
On Friday, we made a big change over on the USA.gov blog—we turned off the ability for people to comment on our posts. Now before you all start looking at me like I have five heads and wondering what Koolaid I’m drinking, let me explain our reasoning. We’ve had comments on blog.usa.gov since it launched in March of 2011, and our previous blog—GovGab—always had commenting too. I mean, commenting was one of the things that made a blog different from a regular old website right?
When HHS’s Katie Gorscak was looking for a way to share Stopbullying.gov’s information with teenagers, she looked at her options on social media. New reports seem to come out regularly talking about how teens are fleeing “traditional” social media sites, but Gorscak knew her target audience made up the power user base of the social-blogging platform Tumblr. Tumblr combines parts of traditional blogging with added social sharing features to help agencies meet their missions, drive engagement and increase brand recognition.