John Tedesco: Integrating Social Media in Government

Dr. Tedesco speaking on government use of social media

Dr. Tedesco speaking on government use of social media

Notes on John Tedesco’s talk.
Dr. Tedesco worked on UVOTE – University Vote Outreach Through Education and speaks from the persecutive of someone trying to increase voter turnout. 

The cycle of neglect where young voters did not believe representatives were interested in them and representatives would not tailor messages to young non-voters. Barack Obama ended that cycle.

The Town Square project
Town Square still a hub for political and civic activity and looks to increase low turn-out voters, including minorities and young people. The use of a virtual town square to engage this audience.

Dr. Tedesco “There’s a large amount of cynicism when it comes to the public.” Individuals no longer interact with the government through the Town Square for a number of reasons

Technology
Electronic forms of information distribution, citizen discussion and government-to-citizen exchange all increase communication, but what is lost in the translation?

Who gets isolated?

UGA students taking notes at Connect

UGA students taking notes at Connect

Possibilities

Create a more informed citizenry, increase public engagement in various civil processes. E-government transactions including town tags, utility payments, public comment are all very efficient for governmental organizations. Doing these things attract broader and more diverse citizen engagement and boost the sense of political and community collective efficacy.

Many government agencies have blogs, but there are many challenges when communicating over this new form. Podcasts can be used for message delivery, accessible tone, human voice and builds trust. Wikis are great for public collaboration. Photo and video sharing is used by Nasa, the library of congress and US Geological Survey.

Mash-ups are great for integrating information. Cancer rates can come from the CDC, reports regarding toxic waste from the EPA and links to political representative emails. However, one of the largest issues with putting information on the web is it must be accessible.

Barriers
Resources, resistance from governmental employees along with constituents, and legal concerns all create barriers that the government must think about before pursuing social media.

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