Posts Tagged ‘Flickr’

A word about our photographer

September 21, 2009

Many thanks to Debbie Ebalobo, who took almost all of the fabulous Connect photos this year. She’s a senior, the president of UGA’s PRSSA chapter, and a two-year veteran of the Connect conference social media team. You can find her on the Web on her blog, Twitter, and Flickr pages. She’ll be missed when she graduates, but someone’s getting a fantastic young PR pro.

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Lieutenant Connie Braesch on the Coast Guard’s Social Media Participation

September 19, 2009

 

Lt. Braesch via Skype

Lt. Braesch via Skype

“When it comes to social media we are definitely in the lead” (relative to its service’s size) —a bold statement made by Lieutenant Connie Braesch, the Social Media Tactical Action Officer for Coast Guard Public Affairs.

 

And rightly so—even though the Coast Guard only composes 2% of the U.S. Armed Forces, they have an encompassing presence in the social media world. Among other platforms, the Coast Guard has a service-wide blog, the Coast Guard Compass, and official Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr accounts.

According to Lt. Braesch, the purpose of utilizing these platforms is to educate and inform the public about what the Coast Guard does every day, which includes more than just rescue missions. The Coast Guard is also responsible for navigations law enforcement, ice operations in the Arctic, homeland security roles, drug and immigrant interdiction and maritime law enforcement.

“Every Coast Guard member (Guardian) is a spokesperson for the service. Everybody is considered a voice,” Lt. Braesch said. As a result, the Coast Guard has roughly 100 separate official social media sites, and those are only the ones known to Lt. Braesch.

In order to establish a more collaborative voice among the separate voices representing the Coast Guard, Lt. Braesch shared with Connect participants the Coast Guard’s criteria for social media participation:

1. Full disclosure is required. Contributors to social media from within the Coast Guard must identify who they are, their position and for whom they work.

2. Always provide a short disclaimer. When engaging on unofficial Coast Guard sites, a disclaimer is included to establish that the Coast Guard does not endorse the site or any links on the site.

3. General comment policy. The Coast Guard does not allow anonymous comments.

For a one-stop shop for Coast Guard news, people can go to the Coast Guard Twitter, which is a live RSS feed of Coast Guard press releases. After measuring the click-through rate of this tactic, Lt. Braesch continues to employ this because she knows the Coast Guard’s publics use and enjoy it. Lt. Braesch is able to freely and quickly disseminate this information because the Coast Guard trusts her team to do their own social media without approvals. Since the blog is 100% her voice, it helps to build credibility and authenticity to the posts.

Social media also played a large role in how the Coast Guard responded to the recent 9/11/09 incident, where a Coast Guard training exercise was mistaken as a potential threat to the presidential motorcade crossing the Potomac River Bridge. The Coast Guard is now conducting a content analysis investigation of Twitter streams and blog comments to assess public opinion on the incident.

As for the future of the Coast Guard’s involvement in social media, they want to find the balance between more engagement and less security risks—and continue to be the leader in social media in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Lieutenant Connie L. Braesch assumed her duties as the Social Media Tactical Action Officer for Coast Guard Public Affairs on June 1, 2009.  In her current assignment, she is the voice behind the Coast Guard’s social media participation. She also produces and distributes Coast Guard policy and procedures for the use and application of social media as well as provides consultation for service communicators.

NOTE: The original post was edited for factual information.